With two tickets punched to the Women’s World Cup Semifinals, four other nations fought to do the same. co-host Australia took on a juggernaut France; underdogs Colombia looked to take it to a pre-tournament favorite England! Who came out on top, and how? Let’s take a look at the sixth day of the knockout rounds!
World Cup Roundup: Quarterfinals Day 2
Australia outlast France in 10 rounds of Penalties!
Australia are a very good team, but they have not been at their best in the tournament. They’ve had a survive and advance mentality from the beginning of the tournament, nad against France that is exactly what they needed to have. France is a giant in Women’s soccer, but has failed to live up to that hype for much of the tournament. Their groupstage draw with Jamaica, showed that in their first match at this World Cup. Could this game against Australia be the real test for them to show that they are one of the top teams?
This match was about as even as things could be on the pitch. Both nations had the 50% of the ball, and both put up double digit shots (21 to France, 15 to Australia). Of those shots only five were on target for Les Bleus, and four were on target for the Matildas. The momentum mimiced this evenness, as there were spouts of chances for each team throughout the 90 minutes. This one would need an extra 30 to try to find a goal, and even then the match was open but produced no finishing touch needed to win it. After 120 minutes of scoreless soccer, this game moved to PKS.
PKs always bring the drama, especially when a host nation is involved. This shootout will go down as a legendary one. France shot first; Selma Bacha missed her attempt. It was the perfect start for Austrlia as Caitlin Foord buried her penalty to give Australia the 1-0 lead. Round two had just as much drama as Kadidatou Diani nailed her PK for France while Australia’s Steph Catley had her’s saved by Fracne goalkeeper who was subbed on just for PKs, Solène Durand.
Both teams scored in round three and round four, including Australia’s Sam Kerr who’s back from injury. This made things 3-3. In Round five both teams missed, including Australia keeper Mackenzie Arnold, forcing the PKs to go to “sudden death.”
In the first sudden death round both teams slotted home well taken penalties to make things 4-4. Round seven of PKs saw both teams net again with unsaveable kicks; 5-5! Round eight saw both teams score but just barely beating both keepers to make it 6-6. Round nine was all about the keepers as both made huge saves; first Australia, who could have won the shootout if Clare Hunt could have scored but she was saved. In the 10th and final round, France’s Viki Becho hit the post to be denied, Australia Cortnee Vine stepped up and won the match for Australia! The Matilida’s move on, Les Bleu’s crash out of the World Cup in dramatic fashion!
England come from behind to knockout historic Colombian side
This quarterfinal is really a David vs Goliath matchup between one of the best stories of underdogs at this World Cup, Colombia, and one of the top favorites to win the whole tournament England! This match was highly anticipated to see which team would keep their run going, and which would heartbreakingly not be able to. Early on this match went exactly how pundits and fans alike thought it would.
The match began with both teams eyeing each other out, sparking a few half chances, then England took the ball and the momentum with them. This English side has done fairly well using the ball at this tournament, and on the day kept 61% possession to create 10 shots, six of which were on target. It was clear that Colombia wanted to sit in to stop England from being lethal with those chances, and then hit them on a counter attack when able. One such chance came a minute before halftime!
Colombia sprung forward through their attacking midfield trio of Linda Caicedo, Leicy Santos, and Catalina Usme. Caicedo stole the show with her ability to draw defenders to her on this attack, and then found Santos with a bit of space. The Colombian attacker was able to stand up Rachel Daly and put in a ball into the box that looked like a cross, but floated over the keeper and just under the crossbar. Colombia was up just before the half, but they would need to hold that lead against these ball-dominant Lionessess.
England was able to get a game tying goal on a stroke of luck before halftime. In the sixth minute of stoppage time a bouncing ball in a chaotic Colombian box fell to the foot of Lauren Hemp she toe poked the ball home to tie the match at the very end of the first half. This gave England all the momentum as they came out in the second and dominated the match getting the all important second goal in the 63rd minute. Alessia Ruso had a moment of brilliance where she was able to fire home an inch perfect shot. This would be the deciding factor in who moved on and who went home.
England and advances to take on co-host Australia in the semifinals of the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Colombia’s dream is over, but it showcases their very bright future on the World’s Stage!
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Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/Tertius Pickard & AP Photo/Mark Baker