- England to face holders Japan on 2 July
- Two early goals put Lionesses through
- Canada boss Herdman apologises to nation
- England have joined 1966 1990 club – Sampson
England reached a World Cup semi-final for the first time in their history as victory over hosts Canada set up a tie with reigning champions Japan.
The Lionesses made a dream start with two goals in three minutes as Jodie Taylor, making her first World Cup start nine weeks after knee surgery, capitalised on Lauren Sesselmann’s blunder.
Lucy Bronze then headed in Fara Williams’ free-kick to double the advantage.
England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley continued her mixed World Cup when she gifted Christine Sinclair a goal three minutes before the break.
But in a second half in which Mark Sampson’s side became disjointed, England held on for a famous win that sparked joyous celebrations at the final whistle.
England had already broken new ground by winning their first World Cup knockout game in the last 16,
But the result means Welshman Sampson has guided a senior England side, men’s or women’s, to a World Cup semi-final for the first time since 1990.
As in their final group game win over Colombia, England started fast and then dug deep to keep Canada out as they matched the victory they inflicted over John Herdman’s side
Although they did not reach the heights of their second-round win over Norway, they will now travel to Edmonton to face a team they beat in the group stages of the last World Cup before Japan went on to lift the trophy.
England’s preparations were disrupted shortly before the game when vice-captain Jordan Nobbs posted an update on social media to say her World Cup was over because of a hamstring injury – although the Football Association denied the story was true.
But it had little effect on England, as 29-year-old Taylor showed signs of her growing status just 10 months after making her debut by robbing Sesselmann and drilling low past hosts’ goalkeeper Erin McLeod for her first World Cup goal.
The nightmare continued for Canada when England won a free-kick deep in Canadian territory.
Williams picked out Bronze at the back post, and the right-back managed to loop her header over McLeod and in off the crossbar.
England’s goals came against the run of play – Melissa Tancredi guilty of being wasteful for Canada – and Katie Chapman almost added to England’s tally when her header clipped the top of the crossbar.
Sinclair was then presented with a chance to get Canada back in the match when Bardsley, who was also at fault when she conceded late on against Mexico, could not gather Ashley Lawrence’s centre and Canada’s record goalscorer converted from close range.
Bardsley’s game came to a premature end when she departed five minutes into the second half with what looked like a swollen eye and was replaced by Siobhan Chamberlain.
But it did not disrupt England.
Taylor was denied a second when McLeod brilliantly tipped her curling effort wide.
With the game becoming scrappy, it felt like another England mistake might lead to a Canada equaliser.
But after Sophie Schmidt fired over seven minutes from the end, the Lionesses remained resolute and roared wildly as the hosts were eliminated in front of 54,027 fans.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/33085911