England are one win away from a place in the Women’s World Cup final, but this is their toughest test of the tournament so far.
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Australia vs England predictions
There are only two possible outcomes for the players of Australia and England on Wednesday: agony or ecstasy.
The semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup are upon us and a place in the competition showpiece awaits the winner of this contest in Sydney.
It has been a wonderful tournament so far. There have been some monumental upsets along the way, but we have also seen huge quality from some of the world’s top teams.
Spain, Sweden, Australia and England are the four teams still standing and you could make a case for any of them to lift the trophy this weekend.
But whereas Spain are clear favourites in the first semi, Australia vs England is harder to call.
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Sportsbooks like Spreadex favour the Lionesses. They have more quality throughout the team and their triumph at Euro 2022 means the squad possesses trophy-winning experience. That could prove pivotal.
But Australia are playing on home turf and have impressed up to now. This one is extremely hard to call.
England have not exactly set the tournament alight with their football. Their victories have been slender, with the exception of a 6-1 thrashing of China in the group stage.
Yet the character, determination and nous they have shown throughout means they cannot be written off.
England have never won the Women’s World Cup before, but they have an excellent chance of ending their wait this week.
Yet Australia are more than a match for Sarina Wiegman’s women, which is why this match is so intriguing.
Australia vs England betting tips
One goal might be all it takes to win what promises to be an absorbing semi-final at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
Australia to qualify – 6/5 (Spreadex)
Australia may be starting to feel like it is their destiny to win the Women’s World Cup on home soil.
Despite a surprise loss to Nigeria on matchday two, they topped their group with six points from a possible nine.
A 2-0 victory over Denmark followed, before the drama of their quarter-final against France. The Matildas more than held their own against one of the most talented teams at this tournament, as the two teams traded blows for 120 minutes.
It was a pulsating affair but neither side was able to make a breakthrough. The encounter, therefore, went to penalties, where Australia triumphed 7-6 in a remarkably dramatic shoot-out.
There was an explosion of joy at Lang Park and across the entire country when Cortnee Vine converted the 20th – and winning – spot-kick.
Australia are the underdogs against England but the price on them qualifying for the final – either after 90 minutes, 120 minutes or on penalties – is very tempting.
Tony Gustavsson’s side have grown into the tournament. Far from peaking too early, they have got better with each passing game.
They will also draw confidence from their 2-0 victory over England in a friendly in April. Australia were much the better team on that occasion, and although the Lionesses have changed their system since then, the Matildas have a psychological advantage.
And do not underestimate the beneficial effect of playing at home in front of what will be a raucous and passionate crowd.
This is essentially an away game for England and that could be a decisive factor.
Under 0.5 goals first half – 5/4 (Spreadex)
There are no second chances after Wednesday. This is not the group stage, where there are more opportunities to get points on the board. It is win or bust for Australia and England.
That is likely to encourage cautious play. Neither team will take any risks in the first half. Both managers, you feel, would not be too dissatisfied with going in at the break level.
With that in mind, this wager looks like excellent value. Both quarter-finals involving these teams were draws at half-time.
That was also the case in England’s round of 16 clash with Nigeria, which finished 0-0 and went to penalties.
With the stakes so high, do not be surprised if this is something of a slow burner. The first 45 minutes will be competitive and engaging, but probably not end-to-end.
Sam Kerr to score any time – 2/1 (Spreadex)
Australia were dealt a huge blow on the eve of the Women’s World Cup when it emerged that Sam Kerr, their star player, had picked up a calf injury.
Initially ruled out for the first two matches of the tournament, the Chelsea attacker actually missed the entire group phase.
She managed to get on the pitch against both Denmark and France in the knockout rounds, but Kerr was not deemed fit enough to start either game.
Unfortunately for England, she looks set to return to Australia’s line-up for Wednesday’s clash at Stadium Australia.
That is a huge boost for the co-hosts. The Matildas have shown they can win without Kerr, who is one of the best players in the world, but they are undoubtedly a stronger side with her in the team.
Even if the 29-year-old begins the match on the bench, few would bet against her making an impact as a substitute.
Kerr scored in that 2-0 victory over England earlier this year and she can do so again in this semi-final.
How to watch Australia vs England
- Location: Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia.
- Date and time: Wednesday 16 August 2023, 11am.
- How to watch: BBC One, BBC iPlayer.
About the author
Greg Lea is a freelance football writer from London. He predominantly covers the Premier League and has had work published by the Guardian, FourFourTwo, ESPN and others.
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