England’s heroic Lionesses are one step closer to World Cup glory after beating a tough Colombian side 2-1 in a tense 90-minute clash to enter their third semi-final in a row.
Alessia Russo smashed a second goal past Colombian goalkeeper Perez to take the Lionesses into the lead in their quarter final clash – after the team came from 1-0 down in a heroic comeback.
England scored a scrappy equaliser just before the end of the first half to take their quarter-final match to 1-1 after launching a dominating run of pressure following their rivals’ strike.
It came after Colombia dashed fans’ hopes to take the lead against the Lionesses in the dying minutes of the first half, as England was booed by opposition fans in their quarter final match on Saturday in a battle to reach the semi-finals.
But England fought on to hold their lead in the second half and will now face home nation Australia in the semis as they aim to get to the World Cup final for the first time.
England celebrates after Alessia Russo (bottom) puts the Lionesses into the lead for the first time in the match
Lauren Hemp celebrates after hitting the ball home in a heroic comeback from the Lionesses
Russo strikes the ball home to take the Lionesses up 2-1 against Colombia
England fans celebrate in Croydon, London, after England score to take the lead
The Lionesses were roared on by fans across the world to keep their dream alive as Wiegman pushed her side to take the win in 90 minutes.
After the victory, England players could be seen consoling some of the devastated young Colombians and swapping shirts with them.
A message posted on the Twitter account of the Prince and Princess of Wales congratulated the Lionesses for their epic win, as they said: ‘Bring on the semi-finals! A hard-fought win, well done @Lionesses’.
Speaking after the match, Lauren Hemp told ITV she was ‘so proud’ of the team and said they were all feeling ‘really confident’.
‘I’m absolutely knackered right now,’ Hemp smiled, adding: ‘I’m so proud of the team.
‘Whenever we got the ball we looked like we were going to create something.’
Hemp paid tribute to the ‘special connection’ she has with striker Alessia Russo, and was optimistic about their chances against home nation Australia after the crowd’s hostile atmosphere.
She said: ‘The atmosphere was incredible, I couldn’t even hear the person next to me.’
Coach Wiegman described the match as a ‘very tough challenge’. She said the second half was ‘hard’ against such a tough team, but continued: ‘I am so proud of the team… if we had (been better) we could have finished up the game a little earlier.’
Excited England fans arrived at Stadium Australia in Sydney waving flags and wearing red and white face paint ahead of the Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses’ World Cup quarter-final clash.
The Colombian team had a quick start to the match with an early dash towards England’s goal, as the Lionesses faced boos and jeers from Colombian fans – a factor German players previously said contributed to their last-16 loss against the side.
Jorelyn Carabali of Colombia is consoled by Jessica Carter, Alex Greenwood and Millie Bright of England
Daniela Arias of Colombia is consoled by Beth England after the game
Linda Caicedo of Colombia is comforted by Alex Greenwood after their loss to the Lionesses
Alessia Russo celebrates after watching her strike enter the back of the net
England fans celebrate as the final whistle blows in the quarter-final match on Saturday
Hundreds of people packed out Croydon’s boxpark to watch the England game
After the victory, fans in pubs across the UK were seen singing
Hemp scores her second goal of the tournament to level England at 1-1 during stoppage time
Hemp celebrates with teammate Russo after scoring England’s equaliser
Sarina Wiegman Manager of England celebrates at full time in their quarter-final
England players celebrate the team’s 2-1 victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023
Mary Earps’ hand was just out of reach of a spectacular Colombian strike to take the lead
Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo dart for the open goal after the keeper’s fumble
A young England fan smiles as she urges her team on in a screening of the match in London
England captain Millie Bright embraces striker Alessia Russo after her goal takes the team 2-1 up
Rachel Daly of England controls the ball whilst under pressure from Carolina Arias of Colombia
Colombia’s Diana Ospina Garcia appears tense during the first half of the quarter-final match
Hemp celebrates after taking the match level at 1-1 with her teammates
Alessia Russo came painfully close to an early goal, but their momentum was paused after a Colombian injury, which forced the side to make an early substitution.
Carolina Arias looked devastated on the sidelines as she was seen sobbing out of pain and disappointment.
The Lionesses appeared calm as they took early control in the match, appearing far more confident than they had in their last-16 contest.
But Colombia, known for their extreme physicality, showed their preference for heavy tackles against the Lionesses early on, knocking Millie Bright and Rachel Daly to the ground with strong blows – and leaving Wiegman looking less than impressed.
England took a superb first corner of the game, but a great save denied Daly of an early lead in the 26th minute.
The Lionesses continued to dominate possession during the opening half, although several Colombian breaks kept the threat ever-present, and their defense proved effective.
As England’s rivals began to commit more bodies into the box though they looked more and more dangerous – before a superb strike set them 1-0 ahead.
Goalkeeper Mary Earps just missed getting a hand on the curved strike in the 43rd minute, but the team rallied to the occasion and fought back with a dominant display of pressure.
But an awesome effort from the Lionesses saw a wave of sustained pressure that culminated in a goal from Lauren Hemp, levelling the score and reigniting the team’s hope of progression.
She took advantage when Colombian goalkeeper Catalina Perez fumbled a dive, relinquishing her grip on the ball and allowing the midfielder to hit it home.
Coming out after half-time, England again looked confidant as they kept the pressure on the Colombian players.
Colombia were doing all they could to frustrate England, although they were unable to stop the team’s domination of possession.
A free kick in the 58th minute was played well by Georgia Stanway but Perez was in exactly the right place to dash English fans’ hopes of a second.
Millie Bright of England shoots under pressure from Mayra Ramirez and Manuela Vanegas of Colombia
Mary Earps shouts to her team members during the first few minutes of the match
Perez is helped as she is substituted during her team’s quarter-final game
Mary Earps was unable to graze the ball with even her fingertips as Colombia scored the opener
England’s squad pose before kick-off in the quarter final match on Saturday
England’s Lauren Hemp with an attempt on goal during the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-final at Stadium Australia
Rachel Daly goes down after a rough tackle which saw her take a blow to the face
Lorena Bedoya Durango of Colombia and Chloe Kelly of England compete for the ball
England’s Ella Toone and Colombia’s Leicy Santos battle for the ball during the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-final at Stadium Australia
Carolina Arias of Colombia receives medical treatment early in the first half
Colombia’s goalkeeper Catalina Perez saves Alessia Russo’s shot on goal
Lauren Hemp of England has a shot on goal in the opening minutes of the match
The England players finish kneeling ahead of kick-off against Colombia in Sydney
Wiegman grins after leading her side to another spectacular win on the global stage
The Colombian goalkeeper was briefly given attention by medics, but was soon back on her feet to resume play.
It wasn’t long before England pressure won out and star strike Alessia Russo smashed a second into the back of the net.
Their celebrations were marred slightly, however, after Colombian goalkeeper Perez left the pitch injured in a second substitute for the side – giving 20-year-old Natalia Giraldo a chance on the world stage.
The Colombian side were not about to give up, and recovered to place some consistent pressure on the England side themselves.
A superb save from Mary Earps in the 70th minute prevented the Lionesses from losing their lead as she once again came to the rescue.
England sat deep in their own half in a bid to protect their lead for much of the remaining 90 minutes, as star player Chloe Kelly replaced Russo in minute 84.
Eight minutes of extra time left England playing a conservative game, as anxious fans around the world watched the seconds tick by, but Colombia were unable to take advantage of any chances and England fans erupted in cheers when the final whistle blew.
After the game, Russo insisted there is still ‘lots to work on’ ahead of their semi-final.
She added: ‘What makes this team great is we’re always trying to find ways to improve even after we’ve reached the semis. We’ve got lots to work on. We’ve got to get recovered, rested and go again.’
Russo is also relishing the chance to face co-hosts Australia in the final four.
She added: ‘It’s exciting, what more do you want?
‘You want to play against the best teams and obviously they’re the hosts. I think Colombia had a great fanbase out tonight so we’ve had a little taste, but I’m so excited.’
Before the game fans posed in front of Sydney’s famous Opera House with St George’s flags as they prepare for the Lionesses to take on a side ranked more than 20 places below them.
The Lionesses are among the favourites to win the the tournament Down Under, which would see them add to their Euro 2022 glory last year.
England needed penalties to beat Nigeria in the last-16 and will be without their star of the tournament, Lauren James, this afternoon after she picked up a two-match ban for stamping on Michelle Alozie’s back.
Fans across the UK, Australia and around the world hoped Sarina Wiegman’s winning formula would help England progress as they seek the highest trophy women’s football has to offer.
England were favourites to win today but their performances have so far lacked their usual cutting edge, following a series of setbacks before their World Cup campaign began.
An England fan with a St George bow reacts excitedly during the first half
England fans were out in full-force across the UK on Saturday as they hoped Sarina Wiegman’s side would continue their World Cup charge
Colombia supporters brought sparkle to Sydney’s stadium on Saturday
England manager Sarina Wiegman during the national anthems before the match
England warm up ahead of their quarter final match against Colombia
Millie Bright of England and Catalina Usme of Colombia swap match pennants
England fans watch the quarter final in Boxpark, Croydon, London
Excited England fans (outside Stadium Australia, Sydney) have come out waving flags and wearing red and white face paint ahead of the Lionesses’ quarter-final clash with Colombia
World Cup fever is well and truly underway as England fans descend on Stadium Australia in Sydney for the next chapter of the Anglo-Colombian footballing story
These committed England fans have come dresses as Lionesses ahead of a quarter-final clash with Colombia
Fans watch the Australia v France on a big screen outside the ground before the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-final between England and Colombia
Wiegman made just one change to her starting line up as Ella Toone replaces James in the squad.
Captain Millie Bright led her team to make easier work of Colombia than Nigeria and wrap up the game within 90 minutes.
Their 6-1 win over China, in which Lauren James scored two goals and registered three assists, showed their potential form, but it was a cagey and defensive performance against Nigeria on Monday.
Earlier on Saturday hosts Australia beat France after an excruciating penalty shootout which took 20 strikes to settle, following a 0-0 scoreline at the end of extra time.
The Lionesses made history last summer by beating Germany 2-1 at Wembley to become European champions for the first time. Now, Wiegman’s team have their eyes on conquering the world.
The Lionesses boss said ahead of today’s clash that England have a plan to take on Colombia without top scorer Lauren James – who has netted three and assisted three in four matches.
‘Of course, she is still part of the squad,’ Wiegman told BBC Radio 5 Live.
‘(James) gets support from everyone. In a split second, she made a mistake and that cost her two games, and she regretted it straight away.
‘It’s (towards) the end of the game, she is fatigued, she is inexperienced and sometimes things like that happen and that is part of life. The punishment is there, two games.
‘Now she needs support from us and to learn from it. She is still part of our team, she just can’t play (on Saturday).’
England will be hoping to continue their World Cup run Down Under in a tournament which has already seen several favourites dumped out in earlier rounds
Young England fans wear red and white face paint ahead of a mouth-watering clash at Stadium Australia
England fans before the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-final at Stadium Australia, Sydney
Fans from Ipswich were seen posing with the England flag in front of Australia’s famous Sydney Opera House
England and Colombia fans mix before the quarter-final in Sydney. England are heavy favourites to win
Lionesses fans are all kitted out in red and white flags and hats as they get ready for today’s quarter-final
Colombian flags have been bringing the colour with their yellow shirts, wigs and balloons
Wiegman has been described by her squad as someone who understands the reality of being a female player in a way that her predecessors didn’t.
When Wiegman was asked this week what it meant to her to be the last woman coach standing in these finals, she was, again, unforthcoming. ‘I’m not busy with my journey at the moment. I’m busy with my team,’ she replied.
Although England are ranked 21 places higher than Colombia, the South Americans have proved they are capable of an upset, beating Germany 2-1 in the group stages.
England will be hoping they can make lighter work of Colombia after having to play 120 minutes against Nigeria – getting through extra time with 10 players after James’ red card.
Nervous but excited fans gathered on Saturday across England as they cheered the Lionesses to victory in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Chants of ‘come on England’ could be heard as fans ignored the summer drizzle to watch the big screen in St Albans, Hertfordshire, as manager Sarina Wiegman’s team kicked off against Colombia in Sydney’s Stadium Australia.
Football fan Joanna King said ‘the best is yet to come’ for England, despite a run of injuries to top players ahead of the tournament and top scorer Lauren James, 21, being sent off in the last-16 penalty shootout victory over Nigeria earlier in the week.
Speaking at the McDonald’s big screen in St Albans, the 31-year-old sales advisor from Oxford, said: ‘I think we have been playing OK. The last game was a bit nerve-racking to be honest. I am not going to lie.
‘I personally feel they can do it. I think Sarina is playing mind games – she is not making us play bad but she is not making us play our best at the moment.’
The winner of England v Colombia will play Australia in last four after the tournament’s joint hosts scored a dramatic win over France on penalties in Brisbane earlier on Saturday.
Ms King added: ‘I would have preferred to have Australia rather than France, I know that. I think that the Matilda’s are very good.
‘It is good to be here among everyone who is supporting at the same time – there is an atmosphere and it is better than sitting at home.’
England arrived at the tournament as one of the favourites after being crowned European champions last year.
Bella Oglethorpe, 16, took her father Chris to watch the match on the big screen in their hometown, and said she would be pleased if England faced Australia in the semi-final.
She described England’s World Cup performance so far as ‘mixed’, adding: ‘If we make it to the semi-finals I feel we have a good chance, although Australia do have the advantage of a home crowd.
‘I think that Colombia are quite a physical team and England struggled with that against Nigeria – hopefully they have learned from that.’ Her father added: ‘Bella really wanted to come. It is fantastic to watch it on the big screens and to have the atmosphere.
‘Women’s football has really grown in popularity and recognition since the Euros last year.’