England’s Lionesses continue to be the pride of the nation, as their victory over hosts Canada saw them reach the semi finals of the Womens World Cup. A 2 – 1 victory ensured they became only the third England side to reach a semi final, matching the mens winners of 1966 and Bobby Robson’s 1990 team.
Going into the game as underdogs, few expected England’s progression. Thankfully two early goals proved to be enough to continue the world cup dream. With over 54000 people watching in Vancouver, Canada wasted an early chance as Melissa Tancredi powered over the bar early on.
It would be a chance they would live to regret. Minutes later a defensive error from Lauren Sesselmann gifted the ball to England’s Jodie Taylor. Still with plenty to do, Taylor dribbled into a shooting position and blasted home from 20 yards. Insantly the momentum had shifted hands, and boy would England make the most of it.
Two minutes later, England struck again. Right back Lucy Bronze headed in a Fara Williams free kick to add another goal to her world cup tally. Bronze had previously proved the difference against Norway with a wonderful long range goal. This goal was not quite as visually pleasing, but again proved to be decisive.
From then on it became all about Canada, attack after attack was launched at the England defence. Who for the most part did a superb job at keeping the hosts at bay. On the stroke of halftime however the Canadians made their breakthrough. A cross from Ashley Lawrence looked routine for England keeper Karen Bardsley though she fumbled, right into the path of Canada top goalscorer Christine Sinclair. Sinclair made no mistake, tucking the ball into the empty net to bring Canada back into the game.
ENGLAND into a World Cup SEMI FINAL.. Yeah you better believe it!! Absolutely buzzing… Well done team pic.twitter.com/o81Lm72JzW
— Toni Duggan (@toni_duggan) June 28, 2015
Despite Bardsley later going off with an eye inflammation, the England backbone stayed strong. As the final whistle run out the England team celebrated as though they had won the final. Reaching the semi-final is an immense achievement for the team, outlasting the likes of France. In the semi’s they will face defending champions Japan.
Entering the game as underdogs will probably do England a favour. By already exceeding expectations, the pressure is off the national side and they can go out there and enjoy their biggest game of their careers. Playing the world number 3 team will not be easy but if Sampson’s side play to potential, anything can happen on the day.