• Matildas Oust France Via Penalties

ALESSIA Russo fired England into the semifinals of the Women’s World Cup in a 2-1 win against Colombia yesterday to set up a semifinal clash with hosts, Australia.

Russo’s second half strike broke Colombia’s hearts, as the South Americans led in the game until the 44th minute of the game through a Leicy Santos’ sumptuous chip.

Lauren Hemp equalised just before halftime and Russo, the Arsenal striker, struck the winner in the 63rd minute as England advanced to the semifinals for the third straight time. They will face co-host Australia for a spot in the final.

Sarina Wiegman is also 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 semifinals 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.

With many of the favourites, including America, Germany, France and Japan, already eliminated, England will be increasingly confident that it can win its first Women’s World Cup.

They showed character to come back from Santos’ goal in the 44th 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.

The Matildas beat France 7-6 in a dramatic penalty shootout to reach the last four of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time after their quarterfinal finished deadlocked at 0-0 following extra time yesterday.

Australia goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold saved three French penalties and missed one herself in the shootout, but it was teenager, Vicki Becho, hitting the post with the 12th spot-kick that opened the door for the hosts.

Cortnee Vine showed nerves of steel when she stepped up to fire the ball past Solene Durand into the bottom right corner of the net and send the Matildas into a semifinal against England on Wednesday.

The substitute winger raced back towards the centre circle to celebrate with her team mates as the stadium and fan zones around the country exploded in delight.

Arnold hit the post with what would have been the winning spot-kick before the shootout went to sudden death, but she kept her focus to twice save penalties from Kenza Dali, seeing the first scratched off because she moved off the line. The semifinals will begin on Tuesday with Spain playing Sweden in Auckland for the other spot in the final.

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