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England beats Colombia 2-1 to reach semifinals as Australia makes history

What we covered here

  • Semifinals are set: England defeated Colombia 2-1 and now joins Spain, Sweden and Australia in the Women's World Cup semifinals.
  • Matildas make history: Australia won a dramatic penalty shootout, defeating France and making its first ever Women's World Cup semifinal.
  • It's anybody's tournament: It appears to be anyone's trophy, with the two-time defending champion US already eliminated and tournament underdogs upsetting the favorites.
  • Go deeper: Follow the live scores, results and top scorers on CNN. You can also view all the best pictures of the Women's World Cup.
Our live coverage of today's matches has ended. Scroll through the posts below to see how the games unfolded.
9:28 a.m. ET, August 12, 2023

The Matildas are aiming for more history and a victory over a country they love to beat

Players of Australia celebrate as Mackenzie Arnold of Australia saves the first penalty of France. Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

A thrilling day of quarterfinals comes to an end with Australia and England victorious in their respective matches. The Matildas and the Lionesses will play each other in Sydney on Wednesday, adding another chapter to the storied sporting history between the two countries.
Co-host Australia will be confident despite England’s higher placing in the world rankings. After all, in April, it was Australia which ended England’s unbeaten 30-match run with a 2-0 win, the Lionesses' first loss under manager Sarina Wiegman.
The Matildas will be buoyed by the epic penalty shootout victory over France which secured a place in the last four for Australia for the first time, but after 120 minutes of play and 20 penalty kicks, energy and emotion will have been exerted in creating history.

Australia will also have home advantage – tens of thousands cheering them on against a country the Australians love to beat, no matter which sport.

England's Alessia Russo celebrates with Georgia Stanway and Ella Toone after scoring their side's second goal of the game. Isabel Infantes/PA Images/Getty Images
World No. 4 England, however, will be favorite to progress to the final despite the Lionesses not being at their best so far in the knockout stages of this tournament.

Colombia threatened in the last eight, but ultimately, the English did just enough to set up a mouthwatering semifinal.

Read about Australia's incredible penalty shootout win here and England's win over a spirited Colombia here.
9:16 a.m. ET, August 12, 2023

England manager Sarina Wiegman calls semifinal clash with Australia "huge"

 Sarina Wiegman speaks at the flash interview. Mark Metcalfe/FIFA/Getty Images

England manager Sarina Wiegman called her team's upcoming semifinal clash against Women's World Cup co-host Australia "huge."

The Lionesses set up the exciting match with their victory over Colombia, while Australia had dramatically beaten France on penalties earlier on Saturday.

Wiegman says she is looking forward to the match with the only team who has beaten England under her stewardship.

"That was a tough challenge, but we didn’t expect anything else," she said after the victory over Colombia. "Again, we showed resilience.

"In the first half, we played pretty well, but whenever we were sloppy on the ball, Colombia were really dangerous on the counterattack. We know how dangerous they can be, but I’m very proud of the team for finding a way to win.

"The Australia match will be huge, but this was big too – and it also felt like an away game.”

The semifinal between England and Australia is set to take place on August 16 in Sydney.

9:21 a.m. ET, August 12, 2023

England "keeping the dream alive," says goalscorer Alessia Russo

England's Alessia Russo speaks to the media in the post match press conference. Mark Metcalfe/FIFA/Getty Images

England's 2-1 victory over Colombia in the semifinals is "keeping the dream alive" of winning the Women's World Cup, says striker Alessia Russo.

Russo, who scored the winning goal, said she and her teammates were "buzzing" to have reached the final four, but also acknowledged there was a lot of work still to do.

"Colombia are a top, top team and I think they’ve shown more than that this World Cup, so it was a really tough test, but just so happy to … be in the semis," Russo explained.

"We did (have to dig deep), absolutely. And I think we’ve had to dig deep from the first game. And that’s what it's like, they have so many talented players that can cause you trouble within a second, but I thought our backline were brilliant tonight."

The Lionesses set up a mouthwatering clash against co-host Australia in the semifinals and Russo expressed her anticipation at facing the Matildas.

"It’s exciting. What more do you want? You want to play against the best teams and, obviously, they’re the hosts. I think Colombia had a great fanbase out here tonight, so I think we’ve had a little taste, but I’m so excited."

8:48 a.m. ET, August 12, 2023

It's full-time and England joins Spain, Sweden and Australia in the Women's World Cup semifinals

England's Alessia Russo celebrates scoring their second goal. Isabel Infantes/PA Images/Getty Images

After 90 minutes of grueling action, England has beaten Colombia 2-1 to book its spot in the Women's World Cup semifinals.

Goals from Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo helped the Lionesses come from behind after Leicy Santos had given Colombia the lead with a piece of magic.

It now means that all four semifinal spots at the tournament are filled and we know the match-ups with the finish line in sight now.

Spain will face Sweden in Auckland in the first semifinal on August 15, before co-host Australia plays England in Sydney on August 16.
8:06 a.m. ET, August 12, 2023

Colombia nearly scores a stunning equalizer

England goalkeeper Mary Earps has to be at her best to deny Colombia a stunning equalizer.

Lorena Bedoya Durango, from about 30 yards out, decides to have a shot at goal in the hopes of catching everyone off guard.

And it almost works, if not for a sprawling save from Earps to tip the ball over the bar.

The score remains 2-1 in England's favor, but Colombia refuses to roll over.

8:02 a.m. ET, August 12, 2023

England takes a 2-1 lead as Alessia Russo smashes it home

England's Alessia Russo scores their second goal. Carl Recine/Reuters

England has come from behind to take a 2-1 lead against Colombia as Alessia Russo smashes it in to put the European champion ahead.
The Lionesses have looked much more organized after the half-time break, and their effort has eventually paid off.

A through-ball from Georgia Stanway isn't dealt with properly by the Colombia defense, with the ball rolling perfectly into Russo's path to allow her to blast it home.

England is now within touching distance of the semifinals.

7:42 a.m. ET, August 12, 2023

'Matilda' the soothsaying koala was right all along about Australia

"Matilda" the koala was correct! At the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Matilda had picked an Australian scarf when predicting the winner of the quarterfinal between the co-host and France.

Can she follow the footsteps of other visionary animals like Paul the Octopus in the 2010 men's World Cup in South Africa? Time for Matilda to do the lottery perhaps.
7:45 a.m. ET, August 12, 2023

We're back underway in Sydney with the score level, 1-1

England's Lauren Hemp and Colombia's Ana Guzman fight for the ball. Izhar Khan/AFP/Getty Images

A big 45 minutes ahead for both Colombia and England as they both know that one goal could see them progress to the Women's World Cup semifinals.

For Colombia, it would see its historic run at the competition continue, while for England, its aim for a World Cup and European championship double would go on.

All that being said, a lot on the line for both teams.

7:29 a.m. ET, August 12, 2023

Australia star Sam Kerr reflects on historic Matildas win: "This is the stuff dreams are made of"

Australia's Sam Kerr celebrates her team's victory. Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Australia's talismanic striker Sam Kerr, who came off the bench and scored her spot-kick in the dramatic quarterfinal penalty shootout win over France, said the soccer fever which is sweeping the country is what her team hoped to inspire ahead of the tournament.

"I think before the World Cup that's what we were dreaming about – changing the football in this nation forever," she said, speaking about Australia's co-hosting of the event.

Kerr and her team are hoping to use the growing enthusiasm in the nation to power them to a potential maiden World Cup triumph.

"It makes us feel so good and gives us the energy to perform for 120 minutes, so we're loving it and, hopefully, it can carry on for a couple more weeks."

Kerr started the match on the bench as her recovery from a calf injury continues, but she appeared confident that recovery was going well though she did not risk making a prediction regarding her fitness for the semifinal against either England or Colombia.

"My calves are great – every day I feel better, obviously, with more training, more recovery, but I can't even think about the next game. I'm just gonna enjoy tonight."