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  • Writer's pictureBethany Barker

Semi-Finals: Final Four Battle It Out

The last 48 hours of the World Cup have produced even more footballing history as La Roja and The Lionesses book their places in the final.

Thursday 17th August 2023


Spain Vs Sweden:

Once again Spanish teenager Salma Parallueli (19) showed her talent through a threatening performance which gave Spain their first goal of the night after a cagey 80 minutes through a lovely right-foot slotted finish to the bottom right corner; Parallueli will be heading into her third World Cup final after being in the under-17 and under-20 finals. She also creates another piece of history for her team as her goal means she is the second-youngest player to score in a Women's World Cup semi-final.

Sweden got their leveller after Blomqvist latched on to Hurtig's header to get a curl into the opposition's corner in the 87th minute. However, Sweden's joy didn't last long as the La Rojas take back the lead after a corner leaves Olga Carmona unmarked, resulting in her smacking the ball into the net off the underside of the bar. After no goals in 80 minutes, the influential substitutes from both sides gave three in just 10 minutes.

This Spanish win means that Sweden have now lost back-to-back semi-finals whereas Spain's win means they are heading into their first World Cup final.

Australia Vs England:

In front of the 75,784 in attendance, the Lionesses and the Matildas battled it out for the second place in the final however England managed to silence the home fans- who have been immersed in the 'Matildas Mania' which has dominated every aspect of Austrlian life building upon to yesterday's match- with an amazing performance.

The Lionesses started the game strong with Ella Toone giving England the lead in the first half with a superb first-time strike from the box which sailed into the top corner; this goal means Toone is the first England player- both in men's and women's- to score in a quater-final, semi-final and final of major international tournaments after last summer's success in the European Championship. The controlled procession of the Lionesses was disrupted in the second half after Kerr- who is starting her first match of the tournament- breaks half the length of the pitch to unleash a sublime 25 yard shot to level, which is met with the crowd going wild; this goal was followed by a dangerous strike from Cortnee Vine which called Earps into action. However, England found a way back through Lauren Hemp as she relieves the pressure on England in the 71st minute, before Alessia Russo sealed the victory with an assist from Hemp, by firing a shot home securing their place in the final which means they have been in back to back finals and has become the first England football team to reach a senior final on the world stage since 1966.

This 1-3 win against the Matildas secures the Lionesses' place in their first-ever Women's World Cup final after the youngsters stepped up once again and breaks more records as it becomes the most watched TV event in Austrlian history with 11.15 million viewers- which is 42% of the country watching- on just channel 7 alone, beating the 8 million that watched Cathy Freeman's win at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In England more than 7 million was recorded in viewership which shows just how much this tournament has grown the women's game.

The Final games:

The next game in the tournament will be the bronze-place playoffs which will see co-hosts Australia play 2019 bronze-winners, Sweden in what will be their third meeting since the last World Cup after a goalless draw in 2021 and a 4-0 victory to the Matildas in November last year. This game will be played at the Suncorp Stadium which will see a tense important last game for the teams.

After their impressive displays in the semi-finals Spain (La Roja) and England (the Lionesses) will be meeting once again in the final- Sunday 20th August- after the tense extra time 2-1 win by England last summer which saw Ella Toone and Georgia Stanway once again step up for the team. This final will be held at Stadium Australia and will be the first all-European final since 2003 which saw Germany secure their first Women's World Cup in a 2-1 victory over Sweden through a golden goal.

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