Sam Kerr will not have been enough. On Wednesday August 16, in Sydney, the attacker of the Australian football team played her first match of the 2023 World Cup as a holder. But despite a sumptuous goal scored shortly after the hour mark (63ᵉ minute), the Matildas star did not allow his team to defeat England in the semi-finals of the competition (3-1).
The reigning European champions, imperial defensively and effective offensively, will face Spain on Sunday August 20 – winner of Sweden on Tuesday – in an unprecedented final (12 noon, Paris time).
Taken by the challenge of a first semi-final in the World Cup, the Australians conceded the first goal of the meeting. Ella Toone opened the scoring (36ᵉ) with a clear strike in the top corner. Already a scorer in the quarter-finals and final of Euro 2022, the Manchester United striker has thus become the first English player – men and women alike – to score a goal at all stages of a final phase in a large international competition.
Despite a clear British domination, the Australians, pushed by the 83,000 supporters of the Sydney Stadium committed to their cause, managed to return to equality, thanks to the inevitable Sam Kerr. Injured since the start of the World Cup, the star striker of the Matildas scored her 64ᵉ goal in 122 caps, with a long shot after returning from the locker room. A masterpiece that has invigorated its partners.
Unprecedented Euro-World Cup double
Transfigured by this saving return to score, Tony Gustavsson’s team was then weighed down by a defensive error a few minutes later, exploited by Lauren Hemp (71ᵉ), author of his third goal in this World Cup. Alone against the young Manchester City striker (23) and a low cross shot, Australian goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold could not do anything.
Very fair technically, Hemp (4 selections) showed off all his class at the end of the game to seal the fate of this second semi-final. Launched on the counter-attack after eliminating three Australian players, the number 11 of the Three Lionesses added another assist to her credit by perfectly serving Alessia Russo on the right of the box, who only had to adjust the Australian door from a cross shot (86ᵉ).
Eliminated in the semi-finals in the last two editions (against Japan in 2015 and against the United States in 2019), the English, undefeated since the start of this World Cup, can hope to win an unprecedented double Euro-World Cup.
Sunday, they will have to get rid of Spain, faller of Sweden (2-1) and in search, too, of their first planetary title. Australia, host country of this competition, will play, at Lang Park in Brisbane, the 3ᵉ place against the Swedes.
Our selection of articles on the Football World Cup in Australia and New Zealand
- England eliminate Australia and can dream of an unprecedented double
- Spain continue their dream run and reach the final
- The end of the adventure, but the beginning of the story for Les Bleues
- Master Fox or the art of communication
- Les Bleues outclass Morocco and imagine themselves as dream breakers
- The odyssey of Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, fighter and goalkeeper of Les Bleues
- How Morocco led its women’s football revolution
- The crescendo of Kadidiatou Diani, author of the first hat-trick of a Frenchwoman in the World Cup
- How did women get their own FIFA World Cup? Understand in three minutes
- The French team, guided by its “two Foxes”, finds the way to success against Brazil
- Amel Majri and Selma Bacha, the Lyon left in the service of the Bleues
- For Haiti, a first World Cup thanks to a generation born in the ruins
- Les Bleues and the temptation of the stranger
- Ineffective and sometimes feverish, the Blues miss their debut against the Jamaicans
- Hervé Renard, coach of the Blue, is “entirely immersed in this cause”