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England v Australia: Lionesses set to roar as they attempt to reach first ever World Cup final | World News

Hot on the heels of a blockbuster Ashes series, England fans are in for another high stakes sporting clash with Australia as the Lionesses take on the Matildas in the Women’s World Cup semi-final.

The old rivalry has already been ignited in the build up to the match at Sydney’s Stadium Australia, with tickets allocated to England being snapped up by Aussie fans and a helicopter funded by the Australian Daily Telegraph spying on an England training session.

The newspaper’s stunt culminated in a piece with the title “11 Poms against a nation: Welcome to the Jungle, Lionesses”.

According to the article, manager Sarina Wiegman and co were in for a “rude shock” if they thought they could quietly prepare for the game.

England booked their place in the semi-finals alongside the host nation over the weekend following a 2-1 win against Colombia.

Australia, meanwhile, saw off France in a penalty shootout after the match remained goalless after extra time.

England coach Sarina Wiegman and the team
England coach Sarina Wiegman and the team

Read more: Five things to know ahead of England’s clash with Australia

The Lionesses will be without Lauren James who is completing her two-match ban for stamping on Michelle Alozie during the round of 16 match against Nigeria.

But captain Millie Bright says her team will “thrive” under the pressure of playing against the hosts.

“That is what we expect now – for us to thrive in those moments,” she said.

“It is a proud moment for the women’s game back home when they see what an atmosphere there is.

“It’s about turning up, showing up, performing and enjoying the game.

“It is important to adapt to the game whatever they give to us. We have faced many different challenges and we have adapted really well.”

England head coach Sarina Wiegman and goalkeeper Mary Earps (left) during the press conference at Stadium Australia, Sydney. Picture date: Friday August 11, 2023.
England head coach Sarina Wiegman

Wiegman has also said she expects the match to be “very tight and very competitive”.

However, Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has said that while England may be favourites on paper, they don’t have the “support” his players do.

He said: “If you look at all that and you look at resources, financially, obviously they are massive favourites going into this game.

“But the one thing that we have that they don’t have is the support and belief from the fans.”

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Who are the Lionesses?

Read more on Sky News:
Family split by England-Australia loyalties
Lionesses star apologises to opponent for stamp

Rishi Sunak has sent a good luck message to the team ahead of the tie – telling The Sun newspaper the “nation’s hopes of beating the Aussies now rest on our Lionesses”.

His comments follow the Ashes series which ended in a 2-2 draw after five matches replete with epic performances, controversial dismissals and numerous rain delays.

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Can the Lionesses go all the way?

As well as the words exchanged between supporters of both sides, the FA said it was “disappointed” to hear reports of tickets specifically allocated to England fans being bought by Australians.

The additional 1,970 tickets were released at the weekend, and about 8,000 England fans were expected to be in attendance at the Australia Stadium.

The FA said it was working with FIFA to review its ticketing processes going forwards.

A unique supporter code was reportedly leaked on social media – with a number of Australian fans claiming to have purchased tickets.

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Lionesses beat Colombia 2-1.

Back in England, fans have put out flags and bunting ahead of the fixture and pubs and fan parks have prepared to welcome supporters for the 11am UK kick-off time.

According to Sky Bet at the time of writing, England were 5/4 to win in normal time, compared to 5/2 for Australia.

Women’s World Cup: England’s Lionesses through to semi-final after beating Colombia | World News

The Lionesses have secured a spot in the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup after beating Colombia 2-1.

Colombia led the match with Leicy Stantos’s goal 44 minutes in after she looped a shot over Mary Earps from the right, but England’s Lauren Hemp managed to equalise just minutes before half time after a mistake from goalkeeper Catalina Perez.

But it was Alessia Russo who secured England’s winning goal 63 minutes in, lobbing the ball into the bottom left corner from inside the penalty area which gave the Lionesses the lead.

England v Colombia – follow live reaction

Shortly after, Colombia’s Perez left the pitch with an injury and was subbed for Natalia Giraldo.

Sarina Wiegman’s team will now face co-hosts Australia in the semi-finals on Wednesday 16 August, with kick off at 11am UK time.

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Lauren Hemp scored England’s first goal in the quarter-final game against Colombia

Colombia were the lowest-ranked team remaining at 25 and had never made it past the tournament’s round of 16.

But this in this tournament their team eliminated world number two side Germany with a 2-1 victory in the group stage and looked to complete another giant-killing here.

For the Lionesses, England’s Ella Toone had stepped in for the suspended Lauren James who was handed a red card for standing on the back of Michelle Alozie in the Lionesses last match against Nigeria which resulted in a 4-2 shootout win.

The tense match comes after Australia secured their spot in the semi-finals this morning following a dramatic penalty shootout with France.

Australia were 7-6 winners after the spot-kicks, which featured seven missed penalties combined.

England lose to Australia in their first Netball World Cup final | UK News

England have finished runners-up to Australia in the Netball World Cup after reaching the final for the first time ever.

The Roses trailed the 12-time champions at half-time on Sunday and despite a spirited effort in the second half were unable to triumph in the final in Cape Town, which finished 61-45.

Coming into the event, England were seen as underdogs among the big four nations – Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica being the other countries – but a strong performance in the tournament saw them secure a chance to fight for the trophy.

Manager Jess Thirlby’s team put up a valiant effort, but Australia were sharper, quicker, and more efficient across all departments.

Fans in the stands during the 2023 Netball World Cup final at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town. Picture date: Sunday August 6, 2023.

Only Australia and New Zealand have won the World Cup in its modern form, so an England victory in South Africa would have been one for the history books.

Nonetheless, the England team that reached the final defied expectations, producing some superb comebacks throughout the tournament to keep their World Cup dream alive.

England even beat Australia 56-55 in a close contest earlier in the tournament, but the Diamonds won the crucial match on the biggest stage.

More on Netball World Cup

England manager Ms Thirlby said: “We’re really grateful for the silver medal, and over time it’ll sink in, but right now, we’re obviously gutted with a losing margin like that in our first final.

“It’s a tough lesson and over the next few days it’ll sink in, for now though, I think it’s ok for us to feel a little disappointed.

“It was always going to be a tough ask, and you just cant throw the ball away like we did.

“I just want to say I’m incredibly proud, despite the final result, and we had to battle to be there, but we just fell short today”.

Women’s World Cup: Boost for Lionesses as Keira Walsh returns to training – with a day to go until England face Nigeria | UK News

Keira Walsh is training with the Lionesses once again – with just one day to go until England face Nigeria in the last 16.

The midfielder – who was an integral part of the team that won the Euros last year – suffered a knee injury in a group game during the Women’s World Cup.

She was subsequently ruled out of England’s Group D fixture against China.

But in a post on X, formerly Twitter, the Lionesses declared that “all 23 players” in the squad were out for training at the Central Coast Stadium in Australia.

It remains unclear whether Walsh will make an appearance on the pitch tomorrow – or return to the tournament at all.

She was stretchered off in the first half of England’s 1-0 win over Denmark in Sydney on 28 July.

Walsh suddenly collapsed to the ground without any contact with other players in the 38th minute, and immediately called for medical assistance.

Kiera Walsh

After a lengthy delay, she left the field with her head in her hands and was replaced by Laura Coombs.

Sky Sports correspondent Anton Tolui said there was “good news for England fans” as Walsh was spotted at the training ground for the first time since the injury, which had not affected her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Women’s World Cup 2023: Which football teams are in the knockout stage?

Kiera Walsh

Walsh currently plays for Barcelona – having represented Great Britain at the Olympics – and previously played for Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers.

The Women’s World Cup has been tainted with injury for England players, with captain Leah Williamson and Beth Mead both forced to miss the tournament because of them.

Women’s World Cup: Stanway ready to step up as England play China in final group game | UK News

Georgia Stanway says she will lead by example in the absence of midfield partner and best friend Keira Walsh when England take on China in their final Women’s World Cup group game.

Walsh was stretchered off in the first half of England’s 1-0 win over Denmark in Sydney on Friday with what appeared to be a serious knee injury, although scans have since shown Walsh has not suffered an ACL injury as first feared.

England boss Sarina Wiegman confirmed Walsh is definitely not in contention for Tuesday’s game against China in Adelaide, with Stanway relishing the prospect of taking on additional responsibility in the absence of Barcelona midfielder Walsh.

“I woke up this morning feeling a lot more mature,” Stanway said.

“I think over the last year I’ve created a little bit of a leadership role for myself in the way I am playing.

“I’ve built a lot of confidence in my own game, I’ve been consistent off the back of the Euros, and I just want to keep that momentum.

“I can prove my leadership by the way that I am playing. I can lead by example and I’m not afraid to communicate. I’ll try and do two jobs.”

More on Women’s World Cup

Wiegman was non-committal when asked whether Walsh would be able to play any further part in the tournament.

“Keira is okay. It’s not an ACL. I can’t give you any more information,” Wiegman said.

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‘England must get job done for Keira’

“She won’t be available tomorrow and actually we are only really focusing on the game tomorrow and after that we will continue what we are doing.

“I think we have a strong enough team. I think every game we want to be at our best and we know she is not available. We have a group of 23, so now we have a group of 22 and we have found solutions, and we will show that tomorrow.

“It’s not nice to lose players. First of all for them, and second for the team, but we are here to move on.

“It’s part of sport, it’s not nice, but we have to move on, to adapt to the new situation and find a way, and bring 11 players on the pitch with whom we think can win the game.”

Read more:
FIFA boss leaves World Cup after less than a week

Everything you need to know about Women’s World Cup

Wiegman now has five players from the starting XI that lifted last year’s Euros unavailable for the showdown with China. But the England boss is not fazed, and says the target is to end the group stages with a 100% record.

Weigman (left) says she's philosophical about the injuries to the team
Weigman (left) says she’s philosophical about the injuries to the team

“Things happen in sport,” Wiegman said.

“Sometimes you win some things and sometimes you lose, like now you lose some players. As I said, we have a group of 23.

“It looks a little different maybe, because we have different players, but we are still trying to win games. That’s what we have done in the first two games and that’s what we will try to do tomorrow too.”

Stanway added: “Like Sarina said, there’s 22 of us that have got to step up, and she (Walsh) will be watching.”

The group stage has begun and runs over a two-week period, finishing on 3 August. Group winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16, which takes place from 5 August to 8 August.

The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled for 11 and 12 August.

The first semi-final will be played on 15 August in Auckland, with the other semi-final taking place on 16 August at the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final on 20 August..

Women’s FA Cup final draws world record crowd as Chelsea beat Manchester United | UK News

A world record crowd witnessed Chelsea win the Women’s FA Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.

A sold-out Wembley saw 77,390 fans cheer on the sides under the famous arch – making the attendance the highest for a domestic women’s club fixture.

The sheer number of supporters smashed the previous record of 60,739 when Barcelona Women beat Atletico Madrid Women in 2019 at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.

Chelsea’s Australian striker, Sam Kerr, put the Blues ahead in the second half after Manchester United had a goal ruled out for offside in the opening seconds of the game.

A general view of the fans in the stands making up a record-breaking attendance during the Vitality Women's FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday May 14, 2023.

Read more:
Girls community football clubs struggling for survival despite huge success for top of the league teams

United staged an onslaught in the final seconds of stoppage time, but Chelsea managed to survive the scramble and the game ended 1-0.

The London side won the cup for the third consecutive season, having triumphed over Manchester City in the 2022 final, beating them 3-2.

Chelsea's Sam Kerr celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Vitality Women's FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday May 14, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Women Final. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire...RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Sam Kerr (right) scored the winner

FA director of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell said: “To break the world record is a massive statement and a wonderful marker as to where the women’s game has come in this country.

“A lot of credit goes to all of the players and the clubs in the Barclays Women’s Super League, the Barclays Women’s Championship and below that, but also credit to everybody that’s worked at the FA to make sure this is a reality.

“I’ve said before that we’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got an incredibly long way to go and we know that.

“But it’s another marker in the sand that the game in this country is now alive and well, flourishing and growing.”

The attendance record for a women’s match did however fall short of the 91,648 fans who watched the Women’s Champions League semi-finals last year as Barcelona beat Wolfsburg at the Nou Camp.

The news comes at a time when grassroots girls football clubs are struggling to survive despite the successes in women’s football at the highest level.

Manchester United beat Newcastle United to win Carabao Cup | UK News

Manchester United have won their first trophy under manager Erik ten Hag, beating Newcastle United 2-0 at Wembley to lift the Carabao Cup.

United’s goals came from their Brazilian midfielder, Casemiro, and an own goal from the Magpies’ Sven Botman.

Both came in the first half.

Casemiro headed home a Luke Shaw free-kick before Botman deflected a Marcus Rashford strike over Newcastle keeper Loris Karius.

Former Man Utd captain Roy Keane, working for Sky Sports, said Newcastle had “done very, very well”, but Man Utd had been “efficient”.

“This is top-level sport,” Keane said, adding that it was “hopefully the start of the good days coming back to United”.

United's Casemiro scored the first goal
United’s Casemiro scored the first goal
It is Erik ten Hag's first trophy as Man United manager
It is Erik ten Hag’s first trophy as Man United manager

It is the Red Devils’ first silverware since they won the Europa League in 2017 under José Mourinho.

It means United have now ended their longest trophy drought in 40 years.

The win also means that ten Hag joins Mourinho as the only two United managers to win a major trophy in their first season at the club.

Newcastle’s last trophy was the FA Cup, which they won in 1955.

Sir Alex Ferguson was at Wembley Stadium
Sir Alex Ferguson was at Wembley Stadium

United midfielder Bruno Fernandes said victory was an “amazing feeling” and the team had been “searching for this moment – us, the fans, the club”.

He added: “Finally we get our trophy. We deserve it. It’s not enough for this club – we want more and we need more because our standards deserve more.”

Rashford said: “If we want to win things, we have to keep pushing.”

United are still in the FA Cup and the Europa League and are third in the Premier League.

Sky Sports’ Gary Neville, another former United captain, said ten Hag had “transformed a team from whiners into winners”.

He commented: “What a job Erik ten Hag has done. They have a sprit and a fight. There is a real chance of winning trophies beyond this.

“He makes good decisions in matches – his subs were critical in making sure they saw this game out. It’s been a brilliant last few months.”

Ryan Reynolds’s Wrexham could draw Premier League giants like Manchester United in FA Cup | UK News

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have already brought a touch of Hollywood to Wrexham – now the club could be at the heart of a true FA Cup blockbuster.

The Welsh football side could face Manchester United or Manchester City – two of England’s biggest clubs – in Monday night’s FA Cup fifth-round draw.

It comes after the National League outfit came just minutes from pulling off a famous David-and-Goliath-style giant-killing against Sheffield United – a team three leagues above them in England’s football pyramid – on Sunday night.

A late equaliser meant Wrexham were forced to settle for a 3-3 draw – and a tough away replay – against their Championship opponents.

Club co-owner Reynolds, star of Marvel hit Deadpool, watched on from the stands as the emotional rollercoaster of a match played out below, later describing it as “one of the most exciting things I’ve ever seen”.

Tweeting after the match, he said: “When Rob and I got into this it all felt so impossible. But impossible is Wrexham’s favourite colour.

“That was one of the most exciting things I’ve EVER seen. Thank you each and every Wrexham supporter who came out and aimed your heart at that pitch tonight.”

Speaking to the media before the match, Reynolds also reiterated his desire to push the club into the Premier League.

While Wrexham fans will no doubt share the actor’s lofty ambitions, the club still has a long way to go, sitting four leagues below English football’s promised land.

But they could get a taste of Premier League life if they can win their FA Cup replay away at Sheffield United on 7 February – and draw one of the remaining big teams in the competition.

Wrexham, the only remaining National League side, could also face Premier League sides Tottenham, West Ham, Leicester City or Brighton.

Read more:
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Wrexham owners honoured for ‘promoting Wales and Welsh language to the world’

However, it will be a tie with 12-time winners Manchester United or current Premier League champions Manchester City that will really fit the Hollywood script for Wrexham.

It could prove a lucrative tie for the National League side, too. A draw against a Premier League side could earn Wrexham more than £200,000 in TV broadcasting income.

In 2017, Sutton United, then in the National League, earned £710,000 from an FA Cup run where they were eventually knocked out by Arsenal in the fifth round.

Wrexham still have to overcome Sheffield United in next month’s replay – but will be hopeful though of pulling off an upset.

Wrexham's Paul Mullin celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round match at The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham. Picture date: Sunday January 29, 2023.
Wrexham’s Paul Mullin has scored in the first four rounds of the FA Cup proper this season

On Sunday, the club became the first non-League team since the creation of the Football League in 1888 to score three goals in the first, second, third and fourth rounds of the competition.

They beat Oldham 3-0 in the first round, followed by a 4-1 win against Farnborough in the second, before beating Coventry City 4-3 in a dramatic third-round tie.

And they will be buoyed by the sensational form of striker Paul Mullin, whose goal on Sunday meant he became the first player since 1984-85 from a non-League club to net consecutive goals in the first, second, third and fourth rounds of the FA Cup.

With a superhero-playing owner, a lethal striker and the prospect of a near-undefeatable foe, Wrexham could be about to pen a story worthy of a true Hollywood epic.

Ryan Reynolds revels in FA Cup magic as his non-league side Wrexham beat Championship Coventry City | UK News

Ryan Reynolds has been left “speechless” after Wrexham, the non-league team he co-owns with Rob McElhenney, dumped Coventry City out of the FA Cup.

The Welsh outfit beat the Sky Blues 4-3 at the CBS Arena in Coventry, with Sam Dalby, Elliot Lee, Thomas O’Connor and Paul Mullin all finding the back of the net during the game.

At one point, the visitors were 2-0 up against Coventry, who sit three leagues above them, causing Reynolds to write “What. The. F***. Is. Happening?” on Twitter.

Reynolds posted an update on Instagram. Pic: Instagram/VancityReynolds
Reynolds posted an update on Instagram. Pic: Instagram/VancityReynolds

Read more:
Ryan Reynolds on Wrexham football club takeover with Rob McElhenney: ‘I wouldn’t dare call it soccer. I care about my well-being too much’
Wrexham owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney honoured for ‘promoting Wales and Welsh language to the world’

Wrexham then went 4-1 up, before the home team responded with two more goals – not enough to deny Reynolds’ team their first spot in the competition’s fourth round since 2000.

After the final whistle, the actor tweeted: “I’m completely and totally speechless. What a club. What a town. What a win. Wrexham AFC forever.”

The fourth round draw will take place on Sunday, and could see Wrexham face teams such as Leicester City, Reading, and Tottenham Hotspur.

Another surprise in the FA Cup this weekend was non-league Chesterfield drawing 3-3 with Championship West Brom, which means the pair will go to a replay.

Wrexham's Elliot Lee applauds the fans at the end of the Emirates FA Cup third round match against Coventry City
Wrexham’s Elliot Lee applauds the fans at the end of the Emirates FA Cup third round match against Coventry City

Reynolds, best known for his roles in The Proposal and Deadpool, and McElhenney, who stars in the cult US sitcom It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, bought the Welsh club in February 2021, going on to make a documentary, Welcome To Wrexham, about the club.

In November, the pair welcomed King Charles to the club, as Wrexham celebrated its new city-status.

Ryan Reynolds and King Charles in conversation during the visit
Ryan Reynolds and King Charles in conversation during his visit to the Welsh club

Reynolds and McElhenney are not the only Hollywood megastar owners of a British football club – Creed and Black Panther actor Michael B Jordan was announced last month as part-owner of Bournemouth AFC in Dorset.