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Women’s World Cup: Australia upset Herve Renard, England fight back to enter semis

France’s dream of taking home a maiden Women’s World Cup trophy fell apart at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane as Australia upset the odds to crash Herve Renard’s team out of the quarter-finals.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup co-hosts eased past Denmark 2-0 in the opening knockout round but found the odds stacked against them in their first quarter-final appearance since 2015.

Encouraged by a thumping 4-0 victory over Morocco in the round of 16, Les Bleues came into this contest brimming with confidence, as evidenced by their impressive start to the game.

However, Montpellier defender Maelle Lakrar had an unfathomable miss in the 11th minute, somehow turning the ball over the crossbar from a yard out to make candidacy for the ‘miss of the tournament.’

Little did she know her blunder would come back to haunt France, with Australia coming out on top of a penalty shoot-out marathon to reach a historic feat.

Tony Gustavsson’s side booked a Women’s World Cup semi-final date for the first time in the nation’s history, courtesy of a 7-6 win on penalties, keeping the country’s dream alive.

But Australia’s bid to get to the podium will face a mammoth task in the last four after Sarina Wiegman’s England pulled off a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Colombia in the other quarter-final tie.

Despite falling behind on the stroke of half-time, courtesy of Leicy Santos’ 44th-minute stupendous opener, the Lionesses picked themselves up in almost no time to enter the break on level terms.

Manchester City forward Lauren Hemp took advantage of a bizarre mistake made by Colombia goalkeeper Catalina Perez Jaramillo to put things back to square one in the last seconds of the first half.

After being gifted an all-important equaliser, England regained control of the game in the second half, determined to secure a semi-final berth for the third tournament on the trot.

New Arsenal forward Alessia Russo stepped up to the plate in the 62nd minute to complete a turnaround with a sublime finish from inside the box after effortlessly eluding her marker.

England will be favourites to overcome Australia in their upcoming semi-final tie, but the Lionesses cannot take anything for granted, as witnessed by France’s collapse today.

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