The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has been an interesting watch so far and is set to get even more interesting with the current fixtures. While Sweden will be hashing it out with Spain at Eden Park in New Zealand, England will be slugging it with cohost Australia at Stadium Australia/Accor Stadium in Sydney. It is interesting to note that all the teams currently vying for a spot in the final of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup have never won the trophy. Australia also became the only host nation after the United States to qualify for the World Cup semifinals.
England ousted Nigeria in a penalty shootout in their Round of 16 clash, although credit to them for making it happen with a sending-off for Lauren James for a stamp on Nigerian midfielder Michelle Alozie. However, it must be said that the Nigerians struggled to create and bury their chances throughout the contest. Nevertheless, England triumphed in the penalty shootout and set up a date with the high-flying Colombians led by the superb Catalina Usme and tournament darling/teenage Real Madrid attacker Linda Caicedo. Colombia scored first through Leicy Santos, who fired in a shot that looked more like a cross after good work from Linda Caicedo. It just might be a Goal-Of-The-Season tournament contender; that’s how good it was. It would, however, prove to be insufficient, as goals from Lauren Hemp (in first-half extra time) and Alessia Russo (sixty-seven minutes) sealed it for the English after a sublime but deflected pass from Georgia Stanway. It was a test for both teams, but only one winner goes, and the English took their chances well.
Meanwhile, Australia shot out the blocks and maintained pressure all through their faceoff against the French. There would have been no need for extra time had it not been for French midfielder Elisa de Almeida’s goal line clearance in the first half. Not much happened after that, and the match rolled on to extra time and then penalties, where it took twenty spot-kicks to determine a winner. Australia had a retake and used it to good effect, setting up what is sure to be a thrilling semifinal showdown with England.
Australia will be looking to capitalize on home advantage to get to the final, and Tony Gustavsson will be thinking of how to get Sam Kerr on the pitch against the English. Australia has been superb without her, but any team with Sam Kerr in it is sure to raise its game and quality. England will surely be starting Wiegman’s 3-4-2-1 formation, with Ella Toone sticking in for Lauren James and the excellent back three of Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright, and Jess Carter surely staying put to repeat their solid performance against Colombia.
May the best team win!