England’s Lionesses have qualified for their third successive Women’s World Cup semi-final with a 2-1 win over Colombia.
The Lionesses fell behind to a Leicy Santos cross-shot in the 44th minute but drew level in the final minute of first-half added time after Lauren Hemp took advantage from a fumble by Colombian goalkeeper Catalina Pérez.
Alessia Russo then fired the European champions ahead with a brilliant first time strike low past Catalina Perez in the Colombia goal.
Russo was awarded the Player of the Match after scoring England’s winner and in a news conference after the game said she was “buzzing for the win and the goal.”
She said England were “never panicked” after conceding the first goal but knew Colombia could be ruthless if given an opportunity. On facing Australia in the semi-final she said: “It’s another test but it’s exciting to face the hosts. We’re keeping the dream alive.”
“It’s another test but it’s exciting to face the hosts. We’re keeping the dream alive.”
England forward Lauren Hemp speaking to the BBC added:
“It was really important to go in half-time level. It was a scrappy goal but we take any that we can. You’ve always got to be alert in the box, especially as a number nine. It was a proper striker’s finish.
“We came out in the second half and were really relentless and Alessia [Russo’s] strike was a great goal which was really important for us. I had full faith in Alessia, she does that every week in the WSL [Women’s Super League] and obviously she’s bringing it to the world stage now which is unbelievable to see.”
“As a group we showed the team that we wanted to today and hopefully in a few days we’ll do that against Australia.”
On playing Australia, Hemp said: “We’re all so excited. As a group we thrived off the amount of Colombian fans.
“It just makes it so much more exciting so for me I can’t wait to get going against Australia. It’s going to be a packed out stadium with so many Australian fans but we know if we play at our best, we are unstoppable so hopefully we’ll be able to bring that.”
England manager Sarina Wiegman: “A very tough challenge but we didn’t expect anything else. We showed resilience, in the first half we played very good. In moments we were sloppy on the ball and they were really dangerous on the counter.
“We conceded but we came back. I actually thought their keeper had the ball for our goal.
“Second half we pushed, we found a way to keep that score and win the final duals. I just hoped we would have finished the game off sooner because we could have.
“We know they are dangerous but again I am so proud of the team, we find a way to score to win the duels. If we had kept the ball a bit better, we could have won it a little earlier.”
England will be back at Stadium Australia to face co-hosts Australia in Wednesday’s semi-final in Sydney (11am UK Time Kick-off).