Alessia Russo sends England through to World Cup semi-finals after Colombia comeback

Alessia Russo celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal

By Tom Garry, Women’s Football Reporter at Stadium Australia

England set up a tantalising semi-final against co-hosts Australia in Sydney on Wednesday after coming from behind to beat the Women’s World Cup’s surprise package Colombia at Stadium Australia.

The Lionesses’ strike duo Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo both got on the scoresheet to turn a tense quarter-final on its head, after Atletico Madrid’s Leicy Santos had deceived Mary Earps with what appeared to be an attempted cross that looped over the Manchester United shot-stopper and into the net.

Slight defensive slips from the South Americans, ranked 25th in the world and backed by an intimidating crowd, played a part in both England goals, with goalkeeper Catalina Perez fumbling the ball on the stroke of half-time to allow Hemp to stab in a crucial leveller, before a fired-up Russo capitalised on a loose ball to lash home a fine finish to win the contest.

It sent the European champions through to their third consecutive World Cup semi-final, and they will now attempt to reach their first global final.

They will face a Matildas side who are in the last four for the first time in their history, after their highly-dramatic penalty shootout victory over France in Saturday’s early-evening kick-off.

01:49 PM BST

Russo named player of the match

I’m buzzing. Semi-final of the World Cup. We’re keeping the dream alive. Colombia are a top, top side and we had to dig deep. They can cause you trouble in a second but we held a line at the back.

We recover and rest and go again. It’s exciting [to play Australia] but we got a taste of what that might be like tonight, they have a great fanbase [Colombia’s fans outnumbering England’s].

You should always dare to dream but we will be working hard.

01:45 PM BST

Those semi-finals

Those kick-off times are 9am and 11am respectively in the UK.

01:38 PM BST

Daly issue?

Tom Garry reports

There’s a slight concern for England though, because Rachel Daly is holding her knee in pain. She’s just stood up to join in England’s post-much huddle, but she was receiving some attention from the physios straight after the final whistle.

01:35 PM BST

Tom Garry reports from Stadium Australia

It’s three Women’s World Cup semi-finals in a row for the Lionesses. Alessia Russo smiles widely. She has won this game with a clinical finish. Sarina Wiegman raises her arm to the sky. ‘Sweet Caroline’ blasts out on the speakers. Colombia’s players look crestfallen. England had to huff and puff but they’ve found a way to keep winning, and what a prospect that semi-final against co-hosts Australia on Wednesday is now.

01:35 PM BST

Full time: England 2 Colombia 1

Not very convincing and they needed two individual Colombia errors to score but all that will melt away under the unifying, treacly balm of Sweet Caroline. Credit to Hemp and Russo for being clinical with their feet when the whole side was lax in the air. But there is a disturbing lack of fluency and a tendency to be knocked off their stride by physical sides.

England will now play Australia in Wednesday’s semi-final.

01:32 PM BST

90+8 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Stanway is penalised for a foul om the tenacious Durango. But there’s no time to launch one last attack.

01:31 PM BST

90+7 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Colombia keep coming and, after winning the header from Earps’ goal kick, feed Caicedo. Daly does well to hold her shape and create an obstacle to the shot which Caicedo eventually pumps wide.

01:30 PM BST

90+6 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Ramirez goes up with Bright, back to goal, and works it back to Santos who slips as she tried to shoot. Ramirez spins and has a go herself, smacking a 20-yard effort wide.

01:28 PM BST

90+5 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Vanegas rolls Walsh with a spin then blazes a 25-yard, left-foot effort over the bar.

01:27 PM BST

90+4 min: England 2 Colombia 1

England and Kelly try to pin the ball in the corner but Colombia are too strong for them and rip it away to switch to their right and launch another attack.

01:26 PM BST

90+3 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Bethany England comes on for Hemp while England take their time over a throw.

01:25 PM BST

90+1 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Confusion between Bronze and Carter. It was Carter’s to head but Bronze cut across her team-mate to get to Ramirez’s cross first and diverted it straight to Chacon whose deflected shot is smothered by Earps to stop a corner.

Eight minutes have been added.

01:23 PM BST

90 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Kelly is warned and not booked for kicking the ball away when Colombia have a throw.

01:22 PM BST

89 min: England 2 Colombia 1

England are sitting far too deep and again need Earps to make a save at the near post after letting Colombia in down the left side of their defence.

Tom Garry reports

01:20 PM BST

Luke Edwards reports

The lack of subs from Sarina Wiegman is once again very odd. England’s forward players look tired and they are now facing wave after wave of Colombia attacks. England played 120 minutes on Monday night and some of them are starting to feel the pace. Finally Chloe Kelly comes on to replace Russo in the 84th minute… Her reluctance to make in game changes is particularly confusing given it worked so well at the Euros last summer

01:19 PM BST

87 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Two blocks by Bright stop Santos’s run up the left after another cheap turnover, this time from the otherwise solid Carter.

01:18 PM BST

85 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Chloe Kelly replaces Alessia Russo. Arias continues to receive treatment.

01:17 PM BST

84 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Arias is down injured after Russo catches her on the knee as the defender did the splits in an attempt to block her shot.

01:16 PM BST

82 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Caicedo has come into the middle and links up with Chacon who has two bites at a shot, blocked by Greenwood. Kelly is getting stripped to come on. They need someone to hold the ball up and run the channels.

01:15 PM BST

80 min: England 2 Colombia 1

England are playing with fire at the moment, losing the ball too cheaply and lacking adventure when they go forward. Chacon replaces Ospina.

01:13 PM BST

78 min: England 2 Colombia 1

England give Walsh a hospital pass in midfield and she’s overwhelmed by three Colombia players who launch another raid down the right and England somehow survive it by the skin of their teeth (and a wayward final ball).

01:11 PM BST

76 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Giraldo punches out a Greenwood corner erratically but effectively, sparking a counter led by Caicedo who hares down the left, leaving Toone trailing. Caicedo tries to lace a pass down the inside left but Carter reads it and cuts it out.

01:08 PM BST

74 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Hemp turns Guzman inside out and strides to the byline to stand up a cross to the near post that Giraldo swallows. She was aiming for Russo but Toone and Bronze were better placed at the back post.

01:06 PM BST

73 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Bronze goes down holding her neck after being caught by Santos’ arm as they challenged for a header. She’s OK.

01:05 PM BST

71 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Earps leaps high to her right to palm Bedoya Durango’s 25-yard pearler over the bar. The opportunity came after Daly lost possession tamely on the left and Colombia shifted the turnover from Ramirez to Santos and back for the shot.

01:03 PM BST

69 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Hard to overstate how lax this referee has been. Bronze steps on Caicedo’s metatarsals, accidentally I assume but it was still a foul. The ref gives a throw-in.

01:02 PM BST

67 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Looks like Perez actually failed a head injury assessment. She has fallen to her knees a couple of times this half. Perhaps the original blow came in the first half.

01:00 PM BST

65 min: England 2 Colombia 1

Perez has a problem with her right eye and needs to go off. Colombia are sending on their reserve goalkeeper, Giraldo, who is 20.

12:56 PM BST


Colombia 1 England 2 (Russo) Bright fires the ball up to Stanway in the inside-right channel and she fizzes a pass into the box. Arias should clear but gets her feet in a tangle and lets the ball bobble to Russo who opens her body and slots her right-foot shot across goal and in at the bottom left corner.

Alessia Russo hits a right-foot shot

Russo shoots to give England the lead – DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images

12:55 PM BST

62 min: England 1 Colombia 1

Caribali wins a header and takes out Hemp with her shoulder. Throw-in for England, high on the right, from which they are pushed backwards.

12:54 PM BST

Luke Edwards reports from Stadium Australia

This was a big opportunity for Ella Toone to prove she is worth all the hype she has received since the Euros last summer. I have been very disappointed with her contribution this evening. Lacks movement, to get away from markers or find pockets of space, ponderous on the ball and not making any late runs into the box to get on the end of things. England need far more from their number 10 in this formation. Problem is, they do not really have anyone waiting on the bench who can do it either.

12:53 PM BST

60 min: England 1 Colombia 1

Hemp runs over the ball and runs to the left of the wall. Stanway slips the pass to her and she stands up a cross that Peerz claws away a moment before Daly arrived. As Colombia break England stop their progress with a tactical/technical/professional/cynical foul.

12:51 PM BST

58 min: England 1 Colombia 1

Greenwood’s pass to Toone is laid off to Russo who turns to gallop towards goal and is knocked over by Arias. England free-kick 25 yards out, left of centre.

12:50 PM BST

57 min: England 1 Colombia 1

Emma Hayes thinks Greenwood should slot in at left-back, Daly play wide left and Hemp come inside to form more of a front two instead of splitting.

12:49 PM BST

55 min: England 1 Colombia 1

Walsh slides a diagonal pass out of play. She is nowhere near her best after that knee injury but England seem to rely on her.

12:47 PM BST

53 min: England 1 Colombia 1

Good header from Bronze plays Russo in down the right. She almost bundles Arias out of the way and gets in front but the defender telescopes out a leg to knock it behind. After two poor Stanway corners, Greenwood takes this one and bends it deep to the back post where Daly meets it and heads it straight at Perez.

Daly is too good in the air to let that opportunity go begging.

12:44 PM BST

51 min: England 1 Colombia 1

Hep has flabber absolutely gasted when she tries to shield the ball in the left corner and hits the deck but doesn’t get the free kick.

12:43 PM BST

50 min: England 1 Colombia 1

Bright peels to the near post but can’t get a touch on it and it seems to come off a Colombia player as it squirts behind. Stanway has another go, equally ineffectually.

12:42 PM BST

49 min: England 1 Colombia 1

Russo chases down a left to right chip and whips over a cross that is blocked behind for a corner. Stanway will take.

12:40 PM BST

48 min: England 1 Colombia 1

Ramirez shoots into the side netting from the right. They have started the brighter by far of the two sides..

12:39 PM BST

46 min: England 1 Colombia 1

No changes. Karen Carney was strongly arguing for a formation change for England and a switch to a back four but Sarina Wiegman is sticking with her back three. Carter has to be alert to see off Santos and Caicedo.

12:28 PM BST

Luke Edwards’ half-time verdict

England deserved that good fortune just before half time. Colombia took the lead, against the run of play, with a mishit cross that looped over the head of Mary Earps. The England goalkeeper will feel she should have done better but it is one of those things. It was a real sucker punch.

England had created all the chances before then and to be honest I was worried about how they would react to going behind for the first time in this tournament. They simply do not have strikers who look like scoring but Alessia Russo deserves some credit for trying to get on the end of Bronze header and after a horrific handling error from the goalkeeper, Lauren Hemp reacted fastest to poke into the net.

England need to move the ball quicker and with more ambition. They are the better side and if they can click in the final third they will get more chances and hopefully goals

12:27 PM BST

Half-time: England 1 Colombia 1

In the nick of time England are level. Always a fillip to equalise on the stroke of half-time and England are out of jail (possibly only on licence). They made their own bed with some sloppy work and narrow defending, essentially ceding the Colombia right to the opposition, but managed to scramble a goal when they needed it most. They have lacked genuine fluency but neither spirit nor patience.

12:23 PM BST


England 1 Colombia 1 (Hemp) Goalkeeper makes a proper Horlicks of a save and gift-wraps it for Hemp to stab in. A cross from the left, Bronze heads it across goal to Russo who turns it on towards goal. Perez slides out to grab it but fumbles it and pushes it on to Carabali. Russo pounces and stabs the rebound under the keeper and Hemp crashes past to stab it home.

Lauren Hemp scores

Lauren Hemp steals in to equalise – DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images

12:21 PM BST

45+5 min: England 0 Colombia 1

Daly plays a right-foot diagonal in from the left. Headed clear.

12:21 PM BST

45+4 min: England 0 Colombia 1

England’s midfield is malfunctioning. They need to get on the ball if they can and break the two banks of four.

12:19 PM BST

45+2 min: England 0 Colombia 1

Russo twice gets in down the right but Colombia, with eight behind the ball, crowd her out.

12:18 PM BST

45 min: England 0 Colombia 1

Six minutes of stoppage time are signalled.

12:15 PM BST


England 0 Colombia 1 (Santos)  Colombia have been roasting England down the left side of their defence and England with their back five strung across the 18-yard line give Santos far too much room and space to line up a shot that arcs above Earps and dips under the crossbar as she backpedalled. Earps had to defend the near post which left her vulnerable to a chip. The execution was perfect. Could have been a cross but let’s print the legend instead.

Tom Garry reports

An extraordinary noise explodes around this stadium from the jubilant Colombia supporters. Sarina Wiegman’s dejected face tells the story for England. It looked like an attempted cross, not a shot, but nonetheless, Mary Earps will be furious with herself to have been beaten from there.

Mary Earps of England dives in vain as Leicy Santos

Santos chips Earps to give Colombia the lead – Cameron Spencer/Getty Image

12:14 PM BST

42 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Bright tries her best Kaiser impression and strides forward but eventually loses the ball. Colombia’s Ospian and Durango are working like Trojans to close off the inside-forward channels.

12:13 PM BST

Luke Edwards reports from Sydney

England are on top and have created all the chances so far without taking them. Russo and Rachel Daly have both put headers straight at the goalkeeper when they should have done better. Daly has gone close with an effort from outside the box too.

But England are the better team at the moment and are finding things far easier in the middle of the pitch than they did against Nigeria where they are picking their way through Colombia easily enough. They just need to be more precise, with their passing and finishing in and around the box. Neither Hemp or Russo look like reliable sources of goals, that’s my only real concern at the moment.

12:13 PM BST

40 min: England 0 Colombia 0

England had a decent spell of possession midway through the half but though they are getting numbers forward it’s like trying to thread a needle with chips and headed passes, wing-backs flooding in from the wings. They could consider getting Toone more involved and having the nerve to push Daly and Bronze even wider.

12:10 PM BST

38 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Guzman, Santos and Ramirez work a triangle down the right, probing patiently until Guzman slips the daisycutter cross through to Caicedo who gets the ball out from beneath her feet, feints to create some space but then fired her shot into the recovering Greenwood.

12:10 PM BST

38 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Guzman, Santos and Ramirez work a triangle down the right, probing patiently until Guzman slips the daisycutter cross through to Caicedo who gets the ball out from beneath her feet, feints to create some space but then fired her shot into the recovering Greenwood.

12:08 PM BST

36 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Greenwood floats the left-foot diagonal deep into the box, aiming for Russo but Vanegas gets above her to win the ball. As Santos tries to take it away, Stanway slides in and takes her out with her trailing leg.

12:05 PM BST

35 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Ramirez gets away from Greenwood with the fair-looking use of the arm and put England under sustained pressure from the right. But England eventually manage to see them off and Greenwood can have her face looked at.

12:04 PM BST

33 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Bright heads Guzman’s cross away at the back post and sparks a counter with Hemp skittering up the right. She has little support and has to wait so long for Toone to catch up that she invites the interception by the time she can finally release it.

12:03 PM BST

31 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Couple of misjudgements from Walsh in failing to release Toone is followed by a heavy touch from Russo as she stried to turn on the edge of the area.

12:02 PM BST

Tom Garry reports from Sydney

The officials have missed two blatant fouls by the Colombians in the past few minutes alone. Sarina Wiegman looks pretty frustrated that neither challenge was punished.

12:01 PM BST

29 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Now Daly cuts in off the left to meet a pass switching play with her right foot. She takes a touch to nudge Guzman out of the road then wraps her instep around a shot that whistles over the angle of post and bar.

Ella Toone of England  and Catalina Usme of Colombia compete for the ball

Toone is beasted by Usme in the air – BIANCA DE MARCHI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

11:59 AM BST

27 min: England 0 Colombia 0

England line up in a Russia 2018 train. Greenwood’s corner comes in and Colombia swipe it clear to the left corner of the box. Stanway slices her shot but the ball swerves perfectly on to Daly’s head but she can only steer it straight a tPerez.

11:56 AM BST

26 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Better from Toone. dropping into the inside-left pocket to combine with Daly and feed Russo. The centre-forward slips it out to the right and Bronze takes it to the byline and earns a corner.

11:55 AM BST

24 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Now Daly is poleaxed by Guzman who put a hand one her face and hit her across the midriff with her other arm as she arrived to try and get a tackle in. An obvious free-kick not given, probably deserved a word if not a booking, too.

11:54 AM BST

22 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Bronze bombs down the right and it takes Vanegas and the remaining Arias, Daniela, to stop her, the former flopping to earn a free-kick as they tussled by the right corner.

11:52 AM BST

20 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Guzman takes out Hemp in a side shunt, Hemp having knocked the ball ahead and triggered a sprint to start a burst up the left. Looked like a bookable offence but the referee keeps her cards pocketed.

11:50 AM BST

18 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Colombia have plenty of skill and pace. The further up the field England can hold them, the safer it will be. Bright overhits a long diagonal looking for Bronze and, a minute later, has to be bailed out by Walsh when another pass she slid up the inside right went straight to Bedoya Durango. Walsh gets the tackle in.

11:48 AM BST

16 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Caicedo burns past Bronze down the left, cuts inside and balloons a shot high and wide. She had Bronze on toast with her speed and close control there.

Lauren Hemp of England shoots whilst under pressure from Daniela Arias and Carolina Arias

Carolina Arias is injured when blocking Hemp’s shot – Lars Baron/Getty Images

11:45 AM BST

15 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Usme takes on a long shot that is blocked and then Guzman snaffles the rebound and bombs down the right. England see the danger off through Greenwood.

Luke Edwards reports from Sydney

I think Russo would have been judged to be offside in the build up from Lucy Bronze’s cross but it was worrying that she did not find the back of the net with that chance, firing the ball straight into the crowd of bodies in the middle of the goal rather than the unguarded bottom left hand corner. Russo snatched at the shot. Doesn’t strike me as a forward full of confidence. Far from it

11:44 AM BST

14 min: England 0 Colombia 0

As soon as England break the front press they have tons of space. And if they bypass it entirely, using direct balls from the back, they look very dangerous.

11:43 AM BST

12 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Colombia send Guzman on for Carolina Arias. England work a corner routine, seemingly going backwards before floating a cross towards the penalty spot that Russo meets flush on her brow but cannot beat Perez.

11:42 AM BST

10 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Usme drops back to right-back and stops Daly but England chip a diagonal out to Bronze, who heads back across goal and Vanegas goes down under her challenge. She wasn’t fouled but the game was stopped nonetheless before England could take the corner.

11:40 AM BST

8 min: England 0 Colombia 0

It isn’t the blow to the head that’s the problem for Araias but her knee which was pinned to the ground by her keeper as they scrambled to stop Hemp’s shot. Colombia are down to 10 momentarily.

11:39 AM BST

7 min: England 0 Colombia 0

England break quickly and pierce the press down the right. Bronze floats a cross deep and Carolina Arias makes brave blocks from Russo and Hemp. She wears Hemp’s half volley flush in the face and the lino eventually raises her flag. Russo was an inch or two offside,

Long delay for a concussion test.

11:36 AM BST

5 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Greenwood is booed for passing the ball square and, each touch, as England build slowly from the back, is jeered and whistled. Stanway injects some urgency by firing a pass up to Toone but it doesn’t stick.

11:35 AM BST

Luke Edwards reports from Sydney

Around 10,000 Colombians live in Sydney and virtually all of them are inside the Sydney Stadium judging by the noise when their national anthem was sung. With the neutrals also appearing to be supporting the South American side, this is going to feel and sound like an away game for England.

11:34 AM BST

3 min: England 0 Colombia 0

Ospina brings the ball forward and overloads on the right with Carolina Arias, Usme and Ramirez. Their movement is slick and they are finding space as England take a moment to settle.

Usme whips in a fairly tame shot from the right with her left that Earps gobbles up easily.

11:33 AM BST

1 min: England 0 Colombia 0

England take the knee, Colombia, actually playing in violet shirts – apologies I was fooled by the tracksuits – kick off and try to put Ramirez through with Usme’s pass. Earps is out quickly to gather.

England’s every touch is booed by a partisan, anti-English crowd of Australians and Colombians.

11:30 AM BST

Australia’s moment of victory

11:29 AM BST

The dynamic duo

More Mainwaring and Pike than Batman and Robin:

11:27 AM BST

England belt out the national anthem

And then Millie Bright issues the traditional, Weller-esque ‘Come on, let’s go’ rallying cry.

Colombia’s national anthem, by contrast, is an absolute banger.

11:25 AM BST

Out come the teams

England in white/blue/white, Colombia in those primrose shirts.

11:24 AM BST

Having a wager?

Having a bet on today’s match? First take a look at these free bets and betting offers.

11:22 AM BST

Tom Garry reports from Sydney

Sydney’s Olympic Park and Cathy Freeman Park have been packed all evening with anxious Australia fans glued to the many big screens. Now thousands of them are streaming into the stadium to watch this match too. The majority of supporters inside inside stadium, though, and donning the yellow of Colombia. Their fans have been banging drums outside since about 5.30pm local time. Flame throwers are lighting up the sky too. It’s a proper atmosphere.

11:21 AM BST

Luke Edwards reports from Sydney

The thought of an Australia vs England World Cup semi final has got everyone excited in the English media pack and it really would be a brilliant occasion for the women’s game. All that history and the intensity of the rivalry transferred to women’s football.

But England have a lot of work to do to get through against Colombia. It is a different sort of test to the Nigeria game but equally as difficult. For me, England’s defence will be the difference and Sarina Wiegman’s side should have enough to win. Every quarter-final has been tight so far and this will be no different.

11:14 AM BST

Ella Toone comes in for Lauren James

Ellan Toone , whose sublime finish in the Euros final last year put England 1-0 up against Germany, takes the attacking midfield position and needs to replicate the movement of James against China and Haiti. If Colombia follow Nigeria’s lead and go to one-to-one marking rather than zonal, Toone’s movement will be key.

Ella Toone and Keira Walsh warm up on the field

Manchester United’s No10 Ella Toone, right, returns to the starting XI – Zac Goodwin/PA Wire

11:01 AM BST

Australia win 7-6 on penalties

And go through to Wednesday’s semi-final where they will take on England or Colombia.

10:57 AM BST

Maria Ramirez on the task Colombia face

“Colombia has shown that we have talent and that we have sacrificed on the pitch. We hope for a positive result.

“It’s going to be difficult for us but we know how to attack them.

“We can do a little bit of damage and this is what we’re going to be trying to do during the match.”

10:51 AM BST

Australia keeper saves one then hits the post with her effort

Meaning it’s sudden death at 3-3 in Brisbane.

10:46 AM BST

Australia and France

In the third quarter-final are currently engaged in a penalty shootout. Both sides have missed one apiece with two penalties of the five to go.

10:35 AM BST

Your teams in black and white

England  Earps; Carter, Bright, Greenwood; Bronze, Stanway, Walsh, Daly; Russo; Toone, Hemp. 
Substitutes  Hampton, Roebuck, Robinson, Charles, Coombs, England, Kelly, Morgan, Nobbs,Wubben-Moy, Zelem.

Colombia  Perez; Carolina Arias, Carabali, Daniela Arias,Vanegas; Ospina, Durango; Santos, Caicedo, Ramirez; Usme.
Substitutes  Giraldo, Sepulveda, Andrade, Bahr, Baron, Caracas, Chacon,Guzman, Montoya, Ramos, Restrepo, Reyes.

Referee Ekaterina Koroleva (USA)

10:31 AM BST

One change for Colombia as well

Manuela Vanegas replaces Ana Maria Guzman at full-back.

10:29 AM BST

England make one change

Ella Toone comes in for Lauren James and England stick with a back three:

10:25 AM BST

Preview: Time for the ‘real England’ to stand up

Good morning and welcome to live coverage of the World Cup quarter-final between England and Colombia. England have reached the last eight for the fifth tournament in succession while Colombia, impressive in their group stage victories over Germany and South Korea, less so in the Round of 16 tie against Jamaica which they won 1-0, are here for the first time.

England face a tactical as well as a selection dilemma after Lauren James’ red card and two-match suspension, not only over who should come in to replace the Chelsea winger and England’s breakthrough performer but over whether to abandon the back three they used against China so effectively and Nigeria, when it started to creak. What is clear is that England feel they are yet to do their talent justice.

“We can give more,” said Lucy Bronze during the build-up. “We’re a fantastic team with highly talented players. There’s no point in playing our best performances in the first games, we might as well save them for the quarter-finals or further than that.

“The most important thing is that we’re coming out of games with wins,” Bronze said. “We’re the ones who are still in the competition and there’s many top teams who are going home because they haven’t been able to get that point or been able to see the games out in the penalty shootout and we have.

“We’ve built on every game, we’ve taken something from every game – whether that was the Haiti game that was physical, the Denmark game when we lost our key player in Keira, the China game we changed the formation completely, [and] we had a red card,” she said.

“Everything that has been thrown at us, we’ve dealt with and moved forward. I don’t see many other teams who’ve had that adversity and if they had, I don’t think they’ve managed to overcome the way we have.

“At the same time, we are not happy with our performances.”

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