England beat Colombia 2-1 to set up World Cup semi-final with Australia

Russo and Hemp score for England as the Lionesses come back from a goal down to reach third consecutive semi-final.

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Lauren Hemp scores England's equaliser against Colombia [Lars Baron/Getty Images]

Alessia Russo’s second-half goal lifted England to a thrilling 2-1 quarter-final victory over Colombia on Saturday and into the World Cup semi-finals for the third consecutive time.

Lauren Hemp also scored for the European champions, who now face co-hosts Australia on Wednesday in Sydney for a place in their first World Cup final.

Colombia, who were the lowest-ranked team remaining at 25 and had never made it past the tournament’s round of 16, opened the scoring with a goal from Leicy Santos to the delight of the large swaths of yellow-and-blue clad Colombian fans among the crowd of 75,784 at Stadium Australia.

Hemp evened the score in the seventh minute of first-half stoppage time when she capitalised on a mistake from Colombia keeper Catalina Perez.

Russo netted the winner in the 63rd minute, pouncing on a through ball from Georgia Stanway that bounced off a Colombia defender and into the path of the Arsenal forward, who fired low and hard into the bottom corner.

Eighteen-year-old Linda Caicedo, who was one of the most exciting players at the World Cup, had a last chance deep in extra time but fired the ball over the bar as England withstood late waves of Colombian attacks to hold on for the win.

The fourth-ranked Lionesses, who were missing top scorer Lauren James to a two-game suspension, were one of just four top-10 ranked teams left standing – along with Sweden (3), Spain (6) and Australia (10) – in a tournament that has been full of delightful twists and turns.

England’s coach Sarina Wiegman is a step closer to her second consecutive Women’s World Cup final after her Netherlands team was runner-up to the United States in 2019.

England lost in the semi-finals in 2015 and 2019, going out to Japan and the United States, respectively.

Wiegman led the Lionesses to victory in the European Championship last year, having won that competition with Netherlands in 2017.

“We are keeping the dream alive,” Russo said after the match. “Colombia are a top team. It was a really tough test, so we are happy to get into the semis.”

Russo said she was excited to play Australia next.

“What more do you want? You want to play the best teams and of course they are the hosts. I am so excited,” she said.

Asked what coach Wiegman – the lone female head coach remaining from the original dozen – said in the post-game huddle, Russo answered, “Sarina said that she was proud. Lots to work on and we get rested and go again.”

Source: News Agencies