Women’s World Cup semi-final: Australia vs England
place: Stadium Australia, Sydney date: 16 Aug Starting: 11:00 GMT
England and Australia will be hoping to make history by reaching their first Women’s World Cup final when they meet in Sydney on Wednesday.
Australia coach Tony Gustafsson, whose team advanced to the quarter-finals by An epic penalty shootout victory over FranceOn a mission — they’re not done yet, the co-hosts say.
The Matildas had never progressed beyond the quarter-finals before this tournament, while European champions England are playing in their third consecutive World Cup semi-final.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” said Sarina Wegman, director of Lionesses, whose team came from behind. Defeat Colombia 2-1 in the quarter-finals.
“It’s very special to go so far in a tournament but when you’re there you really want to win and get to the final.”
The winner will face Spain in the final on Sunday at Stadium Australia in Sydney.
Australia will be the first host nation to reach the final since the United States beat them on home soil in 1999, while England will bid to become the sixth nation – after Brazil, Germany, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands – to reach the men’s and women’s World Cup finals. last.
Who is your favourite?
England, ranked fourth in the world, faces a team in tenth place in the rankings and in uncharted territory.
But the Lionesses have not been at their fluent best at this tournament, while Australia has the advantage on home soil and will be supported by the enthusiastic crowd at the 81,000-capacity Stadium Australia.
“If you look at the ratings that players like, if you look at where their players play, they have rookies in the big clubs in the big leagues all over the world,” Gustafsson said.
“We have players on the bench in those teams. We have players in mid-table teams in Sweden.
“So if you look at all of that and you look at the resources, financially speaking, they’re clearly hugely favored in this game.”
However, Wegman was quick to dismiss any suggestion of favoritism, saying: “I don’t think they’re the underdogs, they play at home. The stadium will be really full.”
“They are two very strong teams and they have developed in the tournament. I think it will be very tight and very competitive.”
Gustafsson agreed that the Sydney crowd could have a major influence on the outcome.
“The only thing we don’t have is the support and faith of the masses,” he added. “That in itself would be massive.”
The Lionesses will remain without their top scorer in the tournament, Lorraine James, through suspension, while Australia captain and all-time record goalscorer Sam Kerr has yet to start a World Cup match following injury.
The match would be the first meeting between the nations in a Women’s World Cup, while Australia won their most recent encounter – a friendly in April that ended England’s 30-match unbeaten run and inflicted the Lionesses’ only defeat under Wegman.
The two sides drew 1-1 in a friendly match in 2018 while England twice beat Australia in non-competitive matches in 2015, winning 3-0 in March and 1-0 in October.
“Matilda’s Obsession” in Australia
There is no doubt that the World Cup has captured the attention of the public in Australia. In Sydney, tickets for the semi-finals are like gold dust, and this is the desire to watch the match en masse. Dozens of viewing sites have sprung up across the city and country.
The Sydney Football Stadium – which has hosted six World Cup matches – opens its doors for fans to watch on big screens, while Western Sydney’s Parramatta Stadium and other sports venues, arenas, pubs and hotels also show the match.
It is estimated that 11,000 fans watched Australia’s quarter-final victory over France at the FIFA Fan Fest in Sydney, with thousands watching at other fan parks across Australia.
Another rivalry between England and Australia was born
England and Australia share a unique sporting rivalry.
After an exciting series for men and women this summer and a final between the two countries at the Netball World Cup, this is the third installment of the rivalry between England and Australia in recent months.
However, both sides tried to downplay any hints of a rivalry in their pre-match press conferences, although the account was hard to ignore.
“The media talks a lot but for us it’s not about Australia, we want to win regardless,” said England midfielder Keira Walsh.
While Australia’s goalkeeper Lydia Williams said she considered the match “just another match”.
How do managers compare?
Under Wegman, England played 37 matches, winning 29, drawing seven and losing only one – the defeat to the aforementioned Australia.
The 53-year-old coach has an excellent international record, having led her country, the Netherlands, to winning the European Championship on home soil in 2017 and the 2019 World Cup Final.
After taking over as England coach in September 2021 You coached the Lionesses to glory at Euro 2022 last year. Wiegman’s teams have never lost in the semi-finals at a major international tournament.
Gustafsson won 18 of the 38 matches he played for the Matildas and led Australia to a fourth-place finish at the Olympics, their best-ever run in the competition after defeating Great Britain in the quarter-finals.
He was also an assistant coach for the United States when they lifted the World Cup in 2015 and 2019.
Predict Brown Venice
Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Fiennes predicts the outcome of all 64 matches in Australia and New Zealand:
Everything stacked up in Australia’s favor in terms of form and home advantage – but England showed a knack for results. They have a core personality and belief that they can get through and win games.
They lost to Australia in a friendly in April but perhaps it was a little reality check and they will remember that.
It gives the Lionesses an extra incentive to go and conquer them. It didn’t mean anything to England at the time – it might have meant more to Australia as they were heading towards a home tournament – but it would certainly have clashed and would not have gotten along well with the English players.
Given that England will meet Australia in the semi-finals, this gives a clear truth about the level of Matildas currently. But there is an added incentive for England to retaliate.
Predict Brown Venice: Australia 1-2 England