Australia vs England preview: Women’s World Cup 2023 semifinal

Australia will bank on enormous home support and return of captain Sam Kerr as they take on reigning European champions England in the second Women’s World Cup 2023 semifinal.

australia women's world cup fans
Australia can expect to have most of the 80,000-capacity Stadium Australia crowd behind them on Wednesday [Quinn Rooney/Getty Images]

When: Wednesday, August 16
Where: Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia
Kickoff: 8pm (10:00 GMT)

Australia and England are set to resume their decades-old sporting rivalry when they meet in the second Women’s World Cup semifinal in Sydney.

Co-hosts Australia will have the nation behind them for the first World Cup semifinal in their history and Stadium Australia will be heaving with an anticipated crowd of about 80,000 on Wednesday.

Their heart-stopping penalty shootout win over France in the quarterfinals on Saturday was one of the most-viewed television sporting events in Australia in almost 20 years.

But England are the reigning European champions and will be favourites to reach the final of the World Cup for the first time, even if they must face down a hostile crowd.

It was put to England’s Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman that she probably did not fully appreciate the enormity of a match between Australia and England.

“It’s going be really big,” she said.

“But now I’ve had a couple of questions about that so it’s probably going to be bigger than I imagined now. I’ll talk to my players and staff and see what that rivalry is.”

England captain Millie Bright understands how much it means to fans of both countries.

“I don’t think you can’t look forward to that game,” she told reporters after England came back from a goal down to defeat Colombia 2-1 in the quarterfinals.

Teammate Lauren Hemp, who scored the equaliser against Colombia, said: “Australia, bring it on. It’s going to be a packed stadium with so many Australian fans, but we know if we play at our best we are unstoppable.”

England will again be without the banned Lauren James, but they did not miss her against Colombia in front of a crowd roaring on the South Americans.

Australia have used the support to lift them in difficult moments and will be banking on more of the same at the imposing Stadium Australia.

Vice-captain Steph Catley has said her team was “just primed for this moment”.

“We’ve got a perfect little balance of a core group that understand the gravity of the situations and a small group of younger players who might not understand the gravity, which is kind of bliss,” she told reporters.

The Matildas have become the first home team since the United States in 1999 to win a quarterfinal in nine Women’s World Cups.

Coach Peter Gustavsson believes his team can “inspire the next generation”.

“How they can unite the nation, how they can leave a legacy that is much bigger than football,” he said.

Australia team news

Star striker Sam Kerr is expected to start the match after a calf injury although coach Gustavsson has stopped short of confirming her name on the team sheet.

England team news

The biggest name missing from England’s team sheet will be James, who will be hoping her team can progress to the final, making her eligible for the last and biggest match of the tournament. England may opt for the same starting lineup as their quarterfinal against Colombia.

Players to watch


Australia’s talismanic captain Kerr is expected to start her first game of the tournament when the Matildas step on the pitch for the all-important tie.


In James’s absence, England will pin their hopes on Hemp in front of the goal along with Alessia Russo, who has two goals to her name in this tournament and can be effective in multiple positions across the forward line.


England hold a slight advantage over the hosts when it comes to head-to-head record, winning two of their four matches. Australia have won once while one match ended in a draw.

World Cup record and FIFA rankings

Despite their status as reigning European champions, England sit at fourth position in FIFA’s rankings while Australia have climbed up to number 10.

Australia: W L W W W

England: W W W W W

Where can I watch the game?

Global listings are available from

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Source: News Agencies