FWWC: England Romp Majestically to First Finals Beating Australia 3-1 in Semifinal.

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The Three Lionesses of England on Wednesday strolled majestically like a Lion in the jungle to their first ever women’s world cup final banging the Maltidas of Australia in a stunning 3-1 win before a capacity crowd ever in Australia 80,000.

The Maltidas who had the backing of the entire citizens of the country who dreamt of lifting the trophy wept on the field and at the stands as the gallant English babes shattered their dreams pushing the hosts to go try to get a podium finish with a lucky dip for the Bronze medal.

Manchester United Forward, Ella Toone who has played at all age grades U17, U19, U21 and now senior grade and had a record for the only England player, male or Female to have scored at the quarterfinal against Spain at the Euro 2022 and Germany at also the Euro 2022 Finals and now at the world cup semifinals got a diagonal pass from Russo and fantastically put it into the far top right corner at 36th minute for the England curtain raiser. She also scored

Journalists were edgy because England had never scored first at the final stages and still lost in any world cup last four appearances but the Australian dream to win was so big that the Stadium still roared for Australia with this goal.

Next was Australian Golden girl, Samantha Kerr of Chelsea who on getting a pass from Gory riffled home a blaster from outside the box in the 63rd minute to set the passion of the fans on hyper level with the equalizer.

Manchester City, Lauren Hemp who scored against Columbia on 12th August and China on 1st August got a Bright connection to slot in the 2nd goal at 71st minute when a defender dilly dallied with the ball in front of goal and Arsenal’s Alessia Russo who also scored against Columbia and China put the icing on the cake for England in the 86th minute with the 3rd goal.

The Aussies fought back but extremely anxious Kerr must have missed about half a dozen chances biting her lips each time.

Australian coach, Tony Gustavsson who is actually a Swedish Professional Manager looking pensive after the match said; “England was clinical tonight, our defending was solid in the first half but suspect on the second half. I am proud of my players but am sad we couldn’t make a win”.

Co-hosts Australia who was in Nigeria’s Group B piped Ireland 1-0 on 20th July; lost to Nigeria in a dramatic 2-3 game and suddenly pummeled Canada 4-0. At the knockout stages, on 1st August. Australia dented Denmark 2-0 in the round of 16 matches and defeated France 7-6 after a goalless full time in the longest penalty shootouts at any world cup male or female.

Australia is in her 5th knockout stage appearances at the world cup since 2007. She won only once 1-0 over Brazil at the R16 of 2015. She was eliminated at the R16 stage of the last competition in France 2019 losing to Norway on penalties. Australia registered their biggest win at the world cup in their last group B game against Canada 4-0. The team kept clean sheets in two of their three games.

England missed their top striker, Lauren James of Chelsea who incurred a two match ban approved by FIFA for maliciously stamping on the back of Nigeria’s Defender, Michello Alozie who was already on the turf in the round of 16 matches. James who will be 22 on 29th September scored two goals against China on 1st August; scored against Denmark on 28th July had pleaded with FIFA to temper justice with mercy or would have gone for three match ban in addition to other decisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.
Lauren joined the league of England star players who were red carded at the world cup before namely David Beckham and Wayne Rooney who were former captains of the Three Lions and current Lionesses captain, Millie Bright. James has three assists in this tournament which is highest figure though she shares the record with Mina Tanaka of Japan and Kadidiatou Diani of France but the two other players are already out of the world cup.
England in their first match narrowly beat Haiti 1-0 on 22nd July; won against Denmark by the same margin on 28th July and on 1st August dazed China 6-//1.
England beat Super Falcons of Nigeria 4-2 on penalties after a goalless full time to move on to the quarterfinal from the round of 16. England spiked the Power-Puff Girls of Columbia 2-1 in the quarterfinal.
England is in their 6th knockout stages. The country won two of their round of 16 matches, 2-1 against Norway in 2015 and 3-0 over Cameroon in 2019.

England was at the world cup six times and her best was a Bronze at Canada 2015 when she lost the semifinal 1-2 to Japan and beat France 1-0 in the 3rd place match. She had three quarterfinal appearances in Sweden 1995 when she was beaten by Germany 3-0; at China 2007 USA pounded England 3-0 and Germany came again while hosting in 2011 to beat England 4-3 on penalties when AET was 1-1.

It is the first time both countries are meeting at the world cup. The last time they met in a friendly match was on 11th April 2023 at Western England which Australia won 2-0. That was the only defeat England suffered under Coach Sarina Wiegman who had played 37 matches winning 29 with 7 draws. Other times they met were on 23rd June 2011 when Australia recorded 2-0 win; 6th March 2015 England won 3-0 and that was the highest victory between them; England won by a lone goal on 27th October 2015 and they played 1-1 draw on 9th October 2018.

England is in their 3rd consecutive semifinal at the world cup being there in 2015 and 2019 but lost both to Japan and USA 2-1 on each occasion.

England has faced the hosts of the world cup only once before beating Canada 2-1 at the quarterfinals in 2015 with current Defender, Lucy Bronze scoring the winner.

Australia has kept clean sheets in four of their five matches at this tournament except the 2-3 loss to Nigeria. Only Germany had six clean sheets in 2007; USA had five in 2015 and Norway too had five in 1995.

The 3rd Place match will be between Sweden and unfortunate Australia on Saturday at the Suncorp Stadium at 0900 hours.

Grand Finale is on Sunday 20th August at Stadium Australia when Spain will lock horns with England to let the world know a new champion at 1100 hours.

Something unique is that we are expecting a new champion for the world as previous champions, four times winner USA; two times winner, Germany; Japan and Norway that won one time each have been exited in this tournament.

By Eniola Olatunji

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