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Preview: Australia W vs England W – prediction, team news, line-ups

History beckons for Australia and England as they renew hostilities at the Australia Stadium in a high-stakes 2023 Women’s World Cup semi-final showdown this Wednesday. 

Carried through by a raucous crowd, Tony Gustavsson’s side reached an unprecedented feat last Saturday with a penalty shoot-out triumph over France in the quarter-finals

Australia upset the odds at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium to book a coveted semi-final date at the Women’s World Cup for the first time in the nation’s history.

Following a tepid 0-0 scoreline over 120 minutes, the Matildas came out on top of a penalty shoot-out marathon to get on the verge of a first-ever appearance in the final. 

Standing between Australia and Saturday’s showpiece event in Sydney will be an unconvincing England side that came from behind to beat Colombia 2-1 in their quarter-final tie.

Leicy Santos’ stunning opener late in the first half nearly broke the hearts of the reining European champions before Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo turned the tables in Australia’s capital.

The Lionesses have grown accustomed to fighting at major tournaments, with this marking their third consecutive appearance in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals.

However, it’s worth noting England’s two previous attempts to progress beyond this stage have been unsuccessful, highlighting the size of the task awaiting them here.

Whoever runs out victorious here will face the winner of the other semi-final tie between Spain and Sweden in the title decider.

Match Preview

While Australia’s title credentials face the sternest test yet at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the co-hosts can rely on vocal crowd support at a packed-out Australia Stadium and their water-tight defence. 

Gustavsson’s ladies have been a defensive force to be reckoned with during this tournament, getting here as the only side to have kept four clean sheets. 

But if England can shatter Australia’s defensive pillars, the whole tower could collapse, as happened in the only tournament game in which the Aussies failed to register a shutout. 

Nigeria toppled the Australians 3-2 on matchday two, perhaps showing the Lionesses a way to hurt the Matildas. 

Except for a scintillating 6-1 romping of below-par China on matchday three, England’s three remaining 2023 Women’s World Cup triumphs have yielded unconvincing one-goal margins. 

Despite only scoring four goals across those three regulation-time wins, they have found the net before half-time on each occasion, underlining the potential for a quick start.

Head coach Sarina Wiegman stands on the brink of history, looking to become the first-ever England manager to reach the consecutive finals, having led the Lionesses to European Championship glory last summer.

However, England could take the field with a psychological disadvantage after going down 2-0 in their friendly against Australia in April. 

Team News

Chelsea ace Sam Kerr has yet to start for Australia at the tournament, but after coming off the bench against France, she could be in contention for the starting line-up.

England have stayed injury free ahead of this ‘make or break’ encounter, although Wiegman could ring one crucial change to the line-up that ousted Colombia. 

Manchester United midfielder Ella Toone could surrender her place to Chelsea’s Lauren James, who has netted three times along her tournament journey.

Australia potential starting line-up:

(4-4-2): Mackenzie Arnold; Ellie Carpenter, Clare Hunt, Alanna Kennedy, Steph Catley; Hayley Raso, Katrina Gorry, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Caitlin Foord; Sam Kerr, Emily van Egmond.

England potential starting line-up:

(3-5-2): Mary Earps; Jess Carter, Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright; Lucy Bronze, Georgia Stanway, Keira Walsh, Lauren James, Rachel Daly; Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp.

We Say: Australia 0-0 England (England to progress after penalties)

Wednesday’s match is a textbook definition of a ‘do or die’ contest, so both sides are unlikely to take unnecessary risks, which could lead to an uneventful affair. 

Both managers owe much of the credit for getting this far to defensive resilience, and we believe a penalty shoot-out will be needed to determine the winner of this semi-final tie. 

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