England Secure Comeback Win To Make Third Consecutive World Cup Semi-Final

Russo scored the winner as England beat Colombia 2-1
13:32, 12 Aug 2023

England are into the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup after they came from behind to beat Colombia 2-1. In a hostile atmosphere against a physical and talented Colombian side, Sarina Wiegman’s troops stood up to the test, even when going behind to a freakish goal. 

The Lionesses capitalised on some luck of their own as a major goalkeeping error allowed Lauren Hemp to level right on half-time. Then it was left to Alessia Russo to capitalise on some second half pressure to send England through to their third consecutive World Cup semi-final. 

In 2019 and 2015 they were unable to convert either semi-final appearance into a final showing, and this year they will now take on hosts Australia, after they won a mammoth penalty shootout against France. That will provide a huge test for the Lionesses, given they were beaten 2-0 by Sam Kerr and co in a warm-up match just a couple of months ago. 

But this was a huge test that they passed with flying colours. Remember, Colombia had a warm up match for this World Cup called off for aggressive behaviour and a few of their early challenges proved exactly why. Rachel Daly got a palm to the face early on while their physicality from set pieces was plain to see. 

But it wasn’t all brute force. Linda Caicedo is a brilliant technician and caused England issues as the South American side came into the game in an attacking sense. Just before the break, England fell behind. 

There were memories of 2002 as Leicy Santos floated a cross to the far post and Mary Earps was caught out as the ball dropped into the far corner of the net. Just as David Seaman was left flailing by Ronaldinho in the quarter-final 21 years ago, Earps was left stranded. For the first time in the competition, England were behind. And they had to respond. 

They were handed a lifeline in the 6th minute of first half added time as a Colombian calamity handed The ball was flicked onto Russo who miscontrolled, however the goalkeeper Catalina Pérez failed to claim the ball and Lauren Hemp was there to tap in her second goal of this tournament. 

England secured the win without Lauren James
England secured the win without Lauren James

England were level. 

After the break they pushed on. Half chances came and went before England finally made the breakthrough. Stanway fed Russo who rolled her defender before firing into the far corner to give England the lead. It’s the goal she’s been waiting for and the finish showed just how devastating the Lionesses can be in the final third.

Colombian keeper Catalina Perez came off and she's going to be replaced by Natalia Giraldo who made her World Cup debut. But it was Earps who was tested first as she produced a wonderful save, tipping Lorena Bedoya Durango’s long-range strike over the bar. 

Lucy Bronze was in the wars but came through as England defended resolutely, led by the ever-determined Millie Bright. That defensive soundness will be tested against the hosts in the semi-final, but for now they can celebrate a job well done.

No team had come from behind to win in the knockout stages so far. No team has been as unpredictable as England at this World Cup. But most importantly, they are still in it. And just four teams remain. 

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