England have ended the Matildas’ fairytale run at the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 3-1 win at Stadium Australia on Wednesday night.
Ella Toone opened the scoring for the Lionesses before Australian superstar Sam Kerr delivered the moment of the tournament with a stunning equaliser.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Sam Kerr’s wonder strike.
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But disaster struck for the co-hosts with a defensive error allowing Lauren Hemp to score and Alessia Russo sealed the result with a smart finish as the Matildas pushed for an equaliser.
England will now play Spain in Sunday’s final, while the Matildas will get a chance to end the tournament on a high with the third-place playoff against Sweden on Saturday, which will be live and free on Seven and 7plus.
Sam Kerr looks on after the loss to England. Credit: Getty Images
Matildas captain Kerr started her first match of the tournament and showed no signs of the calf injury with some dangerous early runs.
The Lionesses appeared to target the Australian superstar with Alex Greenwood picking up an early yellow card for a brutal challenge.
England controlled the tempo and had the majority of the play with Mackenzie Arnold producing a smart save to deny Georgia Stanway from close range.
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Alessia Russo was a constant threat for England and flashed a decent chance wide in another warning for the Matildas.
The Lionesses took the lead in the 36th minute after a well-worked play from a throw-in.
Russo ended up with the ball in the penalty area after a brilliant first touch and cut back to Toone, who fired a stunning first-time shot into the top corner.
Katrina Gorry almost had the instant reply, but her long-range strike was straight at goalkeeper Mary Earps.
The Matildas started the second half brightly with Kerr nearly getting on the end of a long ball before Caitlin Foord also went close with a tough header.
Down the other end, Lauren Hemp had a long-range effort saved by Arnold before captain Millie Bright somehow failed to hit the target with an unmarked header from the resulting corner.
Kerr then found the equaliser with a monumental strike. Picking up the ball in her own half, the superstar drove towards the England goal before unleashing a spectacular long-range effort that left Earps with no chance.
The crowd erupted. It was the moment all of Australia had waited for.
The game then opened up dramatically and Kerr had another chance but her header was straight at Earps.
Russo headed just wide in a warning sign for the Matildas before disaster struck.
Ellie Carpenter failed to deal with a long ball and Hemp was able to take full advantage with a smart finish past Arnold.
The Matildas threatened another equaliser with Kerr going close from a header before substitute Cortnee Vine had a powerful shot well saved by Earps.
Kerr had another glorious chance to level the scores but smashed over from close range.
Minutes later, England Hemp and Russo combined again with the latter finishing past an outstretched Arnold.
Time then ran out on the Matildas in a heartbreaking end to their World Cup dream.