England has entered the World Cup The knockout stage is still a long way off from being the dominant team that England had hoped to be. Sure, England had yet to lose a game — an accomplishment during this chaotic tournament — but Its performances so far have seemed to be a few steps short of what is required for it to meet its objectives: reach its final, win the World Cup First time trophy.
England had arrived in Australia last month without three of the country’s best players, all ruled out because of serious knee injuries. A second starter suffered an injury in the first round and was forced to sit out a game-and-a-half. After losing their most offensive player, the Lionesses were left with a void. World CupLauren James, a young midfielder, was given a ban for stamping on a Nigerian football player during the Round of 16
But on Saturday night, in front of a Sydney crowd that presented yet another hurdle by favoring the upstart Colombians as the host nation’s preferred next opponent, England found a way forward again.
After overcoming an early Colombian goal, with a single of their own before halftime, and another midway through second half, they delivered the performance that was predicted to be coming, winning 2-1 to reach the semifinals of the tournament for the second consecutive year. World Cup.
England is set to face Australia after Australia won the extended shootout in Brisbane against France, just hours before.
“We have been put up against a lot this tournament,” Alessia Russo said: “and we always find a way through.”
Russo scored the winner in the 63rd minute, a right-footed finish after an assist from midfielder Georgia Stanway and a momentary lapse by Colombia’s defense that sent her in alone. She was praised by her coach as well as teammates “clinical” to describe both Russo’s shot and the team’s focus, refusing to panic despite falling behind.
At the beginning of the match the seats were not yet full. Instead, many spectators remained outside to watch Australia defeat France in Cathy Freeman Park on an outdoor television. The crowd was clearly in favor of the Colombians when it finally filled up. Despite the odds, they were the last remaining team from Americas.
The fans erupted in celebration when Colombian midfielder Leicy Santios scored from the left side of the penalty box, just above the gloved right hand of England goalkeeper Mary Earps. She had conceded one goal so far during the tournament.
Millie Bright reminded England, who was surprised by the score, that it should stick to their game plan and trust in its own chances. Lauren Hemp provided the evidence almost immediately, tying the score only seconds before halftime by pouncing on a free rebound after Colombia’s goalkeeper fumbled the ball just steps from her goal line.
England is the current European champion, and also a World Cup Semi-finalist four years in France entered this tournament with a strong contender but The team was a wounded one. Forward Beth Mead and midfielder Frankirby, as well as defender Leah Williamson, all suffered serious injuries to their knees in the months leading up to the tournament. World Cup. The depth that had delivered a title at last summer’s Euros offered a measure of comfort for Coach Sarina Wiegman and her team, but a lack of goals that had marked the team’s run-up to the tournament showed no sign of abating once it began.
England, aside from its 6-1 victory over China at the group stage had struggled in scoring goals, instead relying on Earps as well as a veteran defence. England scored just one goal in each of its two other wins at the group stage against Haiti and Denmark. It also managed to score none in their round-of-16 victory over Nigeria which only came about after 120 minutes without a single goal.
England’s two goals against Colombia won’t answer the questions. but The Lionesses performed much better than in their previous match. At least for one day, this was a good thing.
“You want to get better as the tournament goes, and I think we did just that tonight,” Chloe Kelly, a forward said.
England faces an even bigger challenge in the second round, when it plays Australia. A new crowd is waiting to watch England lose. James will be absent again, as her two-game suspension means that she’ll miss the semi. But for Wiegman, neither the fans nor the stakes will be England’s biggest challenge.
“No, it’s the opponent,” Wiegman said. “And ourselves.”