England made history on Wednesday by reaching their first-ever Women’s World Cup final, defeating Australia 3-1 in Sydney.
The Lionesses were dominant throughout the match, and took the lead in the 36th minute through Ella Toone. Australia equalized through Sam Kerr in the second half, but England restored their lead through Lauren Hemp and then sealed the victory with a goal from Alessia Russo.
England will now face Spain in the final on Sunday, with the winner claiming the title of world champions.
“This is the one thing I’ve always wanted, to make finals at a World Cup, and after two times of getting huge disappointment, honestly I can’t believe it,” said England full-back Lucy Bronze. “We all dreamed of being in the final, and all our family and friends who booked to stay here until the final because they all believed in us.”
England’s victory was built on a solid defensive performance, with the Lionesses committing nine fouls in the first half to effectively neutralize Australia’s attacking threats.
In the second half, Australia surged forward in search of an equalizing goal, but England’s defense held firm. Kerr scored a stunning long-range goal in the 63rd minute, but Hemp restored England’s lead just three minutes later.
With the game entering its closing stages, Hemp again played a pivotal role, setting up Russo for a decisive low shot into the far corner.
Australia will now face Sweden in the third-place playoff on Saturday, while England will face Spain in the final on Sunday.
Wiegman becomes first coach to guide two teams to World Cup final
England’s head coach Sarina Wiegman made history on Wednesday by becoming the first coach to guide two different teams to a Women’s World Cup final.
Wiegman previously led the Netherlands to a runner-up finish in 2019, and she has now repeated that achievement with England.
“This team has ruthlessness, whether it’s up front or in defense,” said Wiegman after the match. “I’ve never taken anything for granted, but I’m like ‘Am I here in a little fairytale or something?'”
England’s victory is a major step forward for the women’s game in the country, and it will be interesting to see if they can go on to win the title on Sunday.