Thanks to a powerful performance in a 2-1 win over Columbia, England Women have secured their place in the final 16 of the Women’s World Cup. The Lionesses didn’t disappoint their nation, as they gained the 3 points required to finish 2nd in group F. A goal from Karen Carney and a Fara Williams penalty ensured they held off Colombia, despite a late consolation from Lady Andrade.
A much closer tie will occur in the next round, as England will face a tough game against Norway, who are ranked 11th in the world. Mark Sampson’s side will enter the tie with their heads held high, after winning back to back games in their group. Despite the initial loss to a superior France side, England bounced back with a 2-1 win over Mexico before defeating Colombia to secure their tournament continued.
Before the game, England had a chance to top the group if they bettered France’s goal difference. Unfortunately they were not able to do this, as France battered Mexico 5 – 0, even scoring within 34 seconds. Though they may be thankful further down the line, finishing second ensures they will avoid top seeds Germany in the quarter finals, if they get through.
In the Olympic Stadium, England women’s superb display was too much for Colombia as two set pieces lead to their goals. Firstly Steph Houghton’s placed free kick was saved by Sandra Sepulveda, before the brilliant Karen Carney swept the rebound through Sepulveda’s legs. A second Houghton free kick found its way through to Toni Duggan, whose low shot rebounded off the arm of Carolina Arias. Fara Williams powered the penalty in and England were in control.
England nearly rued spurning several great chances, Sepulveda saving a strong effort from substitute Lianne Sanderson. Late on Colombia’s pacey counter attack paid off, as Lady Andrade lobbed Karen Bardsley in the 90th minute. Luckily they were unable to continue the comeback as time run out and England proceeded to the next round.
With a difficult task ahead, Mark Sampson’s side will have to live up to their potential to proceed into the quarter finals. Buoyed by strong individual performances by Karen Carney and Fran Kirby in the group games, England’s squad is capable of progressing far in the tournament. By avoiding favourites Germany their route to the later stages is more desirable than others.
Granted with extensive coverage via the BBC, the Women’s world cup has brought a nation together who previously may not have watched women’s football. With constantly increasing standards of play and a passionate side, superior in their field than the mens team, the nation have got behind the Lionesses. In England the Women’s Super League is ensuring women’s football will continue to grow, in fact the women’s FA cup final is due to be played at Wembley Stadium in August.