England came back from being down a goal to beat Colombia 2-1 in a rough match on Saturday. They will now play Australia in the other Women’s World Cup semifinal.
Just after the hour mark, in front of 75,000 people in Sydney, Italy’s Alessia Russo scored the game-winning goal for the European champs, putting an end to Colombia’s run in the event.
In an exciting penalty shootout earlier in the day in Brisbane, co-hosts Australia beat France 7-6 to make it to the last four for the first time in their history.
Wednesday is when the semi-final will be held in Sydney.
In their first quarter-final, Colombia took the lead against the run of play when Leicy Santos hit a beautiful dipping shot from the edge of the box on the 44th minute.
But England came back late in the first half when Lauren Hemp took advantage of a mistake by Catalina Perez in goal. This put England into the quarterfinals, which they won with a cool finish by Russo.
Colombia has been one of the teams with the most fans at the event. At Stadium Australia, the yellow shirts of Colombia’s fans far outnumbered the red shirts of England’s fans.
Even though they beat Germany in the group stage, Colombia is ranked 25th in the world while England is number 4.
England’s team, led by Sarina Wiegman, was without powerful defender Lauren James, who was banned for two games for stepping on an opponent in the win over Nigeria on penalties in the round of 16.
But England got off to a better start, and it was a blow to Colombia when defender Carolina Arias had to leave the game after only 10 minutes because she was hurt in an attempt by England.
When the Lionesses had the ball, the crowd booed, but they seemed to be having fun and were able to find spaces in front of the Colombian defense with ease.
The players on Nelson Abadia’s team have a reputation for being rough, and they did just that.
Ana Guzman, who was only 18, took over for the crying Arias. Twice, she knocked England players to the ground, but the American judge Ekaterina Koroleva didn’t call fouls.
With England responding with their own flying challenges, Koroleva was in danger of losing control of the game.
Rachel Daly was one of the England players who Guzman shook up. She came close twice in the middle of the first half, first by hitting the ball at Perez and then by shooting high.
Colombia wasn’t thought of as an offensive team, but they took the lead when Santos skillfully looped the ball over goalie Mary Earps. The ball went under her crossbar and surprised her.
All of the replacements for the South Americans ran from the bench to join Santos and the rest of the team in celebrating.
Just before halftime, England tied the game. Perez, the goalkeeper, dropped the ball when Russo pushed on him, and Hemp shot it into the empty net.
Russo put England ahead in the 63rd minute. She took a pass from Georgia Stanway, turned, and fired the ball low under Perez. Perez was soon taken off the field.
Colombia tried to make a return, but England hung on pretty easily. They only need two more wins to win their first World Cup title and add it to their European title.