It is no longer news that the Lionesses of England have made it to the FIFA Female World Cup Finals in a historic run after defeating hosts, Australia 1-3 on Wednesday, August 16th, 2023.
This semi-final was very historic and strategic for the English team after they had been stopped on the last two occasions of the world cup at the semi-final stage.
With the painful defeats of the past staring the team in the face, they kicked off the game with a high tempo, pressing the hosts, Australia.
England opened scores in the first half with Ella Toone. This goal was cancelled by Australian captain, Sam Kerr with probably one of the best goals of the tournament. An amazing long range strike by Kerr beat Earps in goal for England to restore parity, and get the home crowd and momentum back on the side of the Aussies.
Two goals in the second half by Lauren Hemp and a finishing goal from Alessia Russo ensured the game was effectively over in favor of England.
England have been very lucky in this tournament. This luck shone brightly when they were virtually outplayed in the second round of the tournament by Nigeria. Lauren James was so frustrated by the lack of chances that she stamped on a Nigerian defender, Michelle Alozie. She was handed a red card and sending off by the referee after the intervention by VAR.
That was the match England should have lost. Nigeria hit the England post twice and were truly unlucky not to score against the European champions.
Somehow, the game ended goalless and England scraped through on 4-2 penalty win.
England had gone on to beat Colombia 2-1 in the quarter finals which set up the Australia semi-final duel.
Now England have made it to the finals, and will now face an opponent that truly has the ability to put a stop to the historic run of the Lionesses.
Spain have been really impressive in this tournament. They got to the finals by dumping another team seemingly jinxed to end every tournament run at the semi-finals stage, Sweden.
However, underneath the impressive performance of Spain is a divided team at conflict with itself.
The Spanish coach, Jorge Vilda has come under scrutiny for his seemingly harsh training tactics and unbending rules.
Prior to his picking of the team for the world cup, fifteen players had written to the Spanish FA asking for the coach to be removed. This request was rebuffed by the FA resulting in the picking of only three of the original fifteen rebels for the world cup team.
Despite the internal disagreements, the Spanish team is a very talented one and are also bent on making history. This is the first time they are making the world cup finals. They surely want to and can win it.
Finals is scheduled for Sunday, August 20th.