Four more Gunners into the World Cup semi-finals

Alessia Russo scores for England against Colombia

At least two members of our women's first-team squad are due to reach the 2023 Women's World Cup final after Alessia Russo's winner saw England beat Colombia 2-1 and set up a semi-final showdown with hosts Australia.

The Lionesses found themselves a goal down to their opponents in Sydney when Leicy Santos netted just before the break, but they came roaring back and Alessia played her part in the equaliser as she forced Catalina Perez into a mistake that allowed Lauren Hemp to equalise.

Then on 63 minutes our summer signing pounced on another piece of weak defending to get a sight of goal, and drilled the ball into the bottom corner to score her second goal of the competition and ultimately send her team into the last four for the third World Cup in succession.

Alessia put in a fantastic display during her 84 minutes on the field, and believes that her team have what it takes to overcome the host nation next Wednesday and reach a first-ever final.

“It's exciting," she said post-match. "What more do you want in front of a home crowd? We got a bit of that tonight against Colombia. You want to play against the best teams. England fans can always dare to dream, but we'll carry on working hard.

“We're just so happy to be in the semis. We have had to dig deep from the first game. Colombia have so many players who can cause you so much trouble, but the backline was impressive for us.” 

Lotte Wubben-Moy remained on the bench during the encounter, as she looks to get her first minutes of the competition, with two more games now guaranteed for England.

Catley and Foord help hosts into final four

Australia celebrate reaching the World Cup semi-finals

Meanwhile, Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord are also just one game away from a World Cup final after Australia edged France in an enthralling penalty shootout. 

Our duo played the full game for the Matildas in Brisbane but after neither side managed to break the deadlock after 90 minutes or extra time, it turned to spot kicks. France made the bold decision to sub on goalkeeper Solene Durand specifically for penalties, but the move failed to pay dividends.

Caitlin stepped up first and converted her kick, but Steph missed the second. Australia keeper Mackenzie Arnold made a total of four saves - including twice from Kenza Dali, having moved off the line for the first stop, leading to a retake - and missed the chance to be the matchwinner when she missed her team's fifth penalty.

In the end, 10 players from each team stepped up to the spot, and eventually Vicki Becho's miss allowed Cortnee Vine to fire the Matildas into the semi-final after a 7-6 shootout win.

That means a total of seven Gunners have reached the last four, after Swedish trio Stina Blackstenius, Amanda Ilestedt and Lina Hurtig set up a clash against Spain on Tuesday by beating Japan 2-1 on Friday.

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