England v Australia – live updates: England’s women face hostile crowd as co-hosts stand in way of first ever World Cup final – and there’s bad news in Aussie line-up


England v Australia - live updates: England's women face hostile crowd as co-hosts stand in way of first ever World Cup final - and there's bad news in Aussie line-up

Key points
    Lionesses face co-hosts Australia at 11am as they try to reach World Cup final for first time – team news hereWho are favourites to make the final?England ‘will thrive’ under pressure of Australian home advantageFive things to look out for | Rob HarrisEngland fans in Australia: Singing their hearts out | In picturesAustralian newspaper changes its nameLive reporting by Jess Sharp

08:50:43 Watching the game at work or in the pub? Send us a pic or your thoughts

An 11am kick-off isn’t exactly premium for watching the match in the pub – most of us are at work.

But if you’re lucky enough to be in a pub – or you’re kitted out at home – we want pictures. We’re especially interested in photos of people watching the girls from work – and if it’s against your boss’s orders, even better.

Or if you just want to send us your thoughts on the match once it kicks off, we’re here for that too.

You can get in touch via WhatsApp here or Your Report on the Sky News app. Leave your name and where you are watching, and any other details you want to offer, and we might feature you on this page.

By sending us your video footage, photographs or audio you agree we can publish, broadcast and edit the material. 

10:11:23 Who are England and Australia’s players to watch – and who is absent today?

The Lionesses suffered major blows ahead of the tournament as defender Leah Williamson, Beth Mead – the top English scorer in the WSL last season – and Chelsea forward Fran Kirby were all ruled out with knee injuries.

Lauren James‘s performances – and goal against Denmark in the group stages – offered England hope that she could fill the creative void in the starting line-up.

However, her red card after 87 frustrating minutes against Nigeria means she will be serving the final match of her two-game suspension against Australia.

We will see right-back Lucy Bronze in the starting line-up today. She has extensive experience at the top level, with her attacking contributions proving at least as important to the side as her defending.

Having suffered a knee injury early in the tournament that raised fears she might join the list of absentees, Keira Walsh has returned to a reshaped midfield.

The 26-year-old is arguably the most important figure in Wiegman’s line-up, and was in typically commanding form as England overcame Colombia in the quarter-finals.

She will be partnered in midfield by Georgia Stanway, her close friend and former Man City teammate, who offers crucial impetus for the Lionesses in a more advanced role while Walsh dictates from deep.

England’s Lauren Hemp won the PFA Young Player of the Year award for a third consecutive season playing as a winger at club level (also for Man City), but has formed half of England’s strike force in a more central position.

She has arguably been England’s most in-form player this tournament, with a crucial equaliser against Colombia, and another elite performance in the semi-final could prove pivotal.

Australia’s progress has been achieved with markedly fewer high-profile stars, though the Lionesses will not be underestimating the talent in their team.

Undeniably the biggest name in the Matildas squad is Sam Kerr. The Chelsea forward has the psychological edge of having already scored against England this year when she helped end their 30-game unbeaten run under Wiegman in April.

She also scored in all three of her club side’s fixtures against England goalkeeper Mary Earps‘s Manchester United this year.

The 29-year-old came back from a calf injury to enter the game as a late substitute against Denmark, before playing more than an hour in the epic quarter-final penalties defeat of France.

Today, she starts for the first time in the tournament.

Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord has demonstrated her immense attacking talent for Australia already during this World Cup, proving deadly from the left-wing – her goal against Denmark representing a particular highlight.

Elsewhere in the Matildas’ starting XI, fellow midfielders Katrina Gorry and Kyra Cooney have excelled during the tournament has progressed, developing an impressive partnership that England will hope to subdue if they are to triumph.

10:06:02 Lionesses look in good spirits ahead of game

With around an hour to go until kick-off, Sarina Wiegman has taken her team onto the Stadium Australia pitch. 

The Lionesses appeared to be in good spirits, smiling and laughing while taking a look around. 

They are still, of course, the favourites to win… 

09:55:49 Spy-gate

As discussed, the build-up to the game in Sydney has had a slightly sour tone to it. Not only have tickets allocated to England fans been snapped up by Matildas supporters (see 9.35 post), but a helicopter funded by the Australian Daily Telegraph also spied on a Lionesses 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, England were in for a “rude shock” if they thought they could quietly prepare.

09:50:20 Warning to fans as almost 100,000 supporters expected at stadium

Outside the stadium, a message has boomed over the loudspeaker system warning fans about potential delays when they leave the game later. 

The Women’s World Cup semi-final kicks off at 11am UK time, which is 9pm Down Under. 

“With almost 100,000 fans here tonight, it could take over an hour to leave after the event,” the message said.  

“To avoid the traffic and the queues stay for a bite to eat and enjoy the late night entertainment.” 

Ending on a positive note, the mystery voice wished people a good night, before adding: “And of course, go the Matildas.” 

09:41:19 England team revealed – as star player returns for Australia

Sarina Wiegman has named an unchanged team for the semi-final.

Key player Lauren James remains suspended after her last-16 red card – but would be allowed to play in the final if England make it.

Chloe Kelly and Bethany England remain on the bench.

England XI: Earps, Bronze, Bright, Greenwood, Carter, Daly, Walsh, Stanway, Toone, Russo, Hemp.

We also have the Aussie team – and the interesting element here is that Sam Kerr, the Chelsea ace, is deemed fit enough to start for the first time this tournament after a calf injury.

Potentially bad news for England if she hits form – but it’s interesting to see Man City defender Alanna Kennedy isn’t in the team. She was ruled out only this morning through illness.

We’ll have a round-up of the star players on both teams in a short while but for now, here’s how the opposition lines up…

09:36:08 The Matildas have ‘captivated the nation’ – and it shows by the number of fans already outside the stadium

Outside Stadium Australia, our sports correspondent Rob Harris has been soaking up the atmosphere. 

Matildas fans have arrived in their droves – despite the gates still being closed. 

Dressed in yellow and green, many are stopping to get their face painted ahead of the game. 

“Stadium Australia, the place every Australian seemingly wants to be,” he says. 

“But there’s only 75,000 tickets for the biggest moment in Australian footballing history as they take on England – the European champions – trying to reach a first ever World Cup final. 

“The Matildas really have captivated the nation. They’ve managed to seize on this moment, really bringing the country together through football like never before.” 

09:35:56 Ticket leak sees Australian fans buy tickets in England section

The FA has said it is “disappointed” after reports suggested tickets allocated for England fans were bought by Matildas supporters.

A unique supporter code was reportedly leaked on social media ahead and a Australian fans claimed to have purchased tickets.

The additional 1,970 seats were released at the weekend.

“We worked with Fifa to secure an additional allocation of tickets for England’s World Cup semi-final against Australia,” an FA spokesman said.

“The details of how to purchase these tickets were communicated directly to our fans on our England Football channel, and we are disappointed to see reports that a limited number of these tickets have been accessed by other fans.

“We are working with Fifa to review this ticketing process going forward.”

Around 8,000 England fans are expected to be in attendance.

09:11:45 How did the Matildas get their nickname?

Australia’s women’s team are one of the most identifiable in the world, playing in every World Cup since the 1995 tournament. 

But did you know they haven’t always been nicknamed the Matildas? 

Initially, the team were known as the Women’s Socceroos (an original choice, we know) but after a preparation match for the 1995 tournament in Sweden, a local TV station launched a poll to change it. 

SBS asked people to vote for a new nickname from the following options – the Soccertoos, Blue Flyers, Waratahs, Lorikeets or the Matildas. 

A few months later, the Matildas was announced as the winner and the team has featured with the nickname at every World Cup since.

Waltzing Matilda is a popular Australian folk song – for many it’s like a second national anthem. 

The lyrics tell the story of an Australian mythological creature called the Swagman – a man who travels across the country looking for work on a farm. 

Many artists have sang the song over the years, here’s one of the most streamed versions by Slim Dusty…

09:11:25 Who are favourites to make the final?

As mentioned, England boss Sarina Wiegman has been at pains to dampen expectations surrounding her players, insisting they should not be considered favourites to triumph today.

“First of all, I don’t think [Australia] are underdogs,” she said.

“They’re playing at home. The stadium will be really full, so it’s two teams that are very good, very strong and have grown into the tournament.

“It’s going to be very tight and very competitive. We approach the game as any other game, we just prepare how we want to play.

“We’ve analysed our opponent really well, so hopefully we can take out the strengths and exploit some weaknesses, and take it from there.”

Wiegman’s comments may be considered a canny and well-worn method of reducing the pressure on her side, who are – at least according to the bookies – the favourites to reach the final.

According to Sky Bet at the time of writing, England were 13/10 to win in normal time, compared to 12/5 for Australia.

Australia manager Tony Gustavsson outlined why he considered England favourites.

“If you look at rankings [England] are favourites,” he said.

“If you look at where their players play, they have starting players in top clubs in top leagues all over the world.

“Not just the starting 11, down to 15, 16. We have bench players in those teams. We have players playing in mid-table teams in Sweden.

“So 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. That in itself is going to be massive tomorrow.”

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