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Australia edges France on penalties to reach the Women's World Cup semifinals, will face England

The Matildas celebrate after winning the Women's World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Australia and France in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023.
The Matildas celebrate after winning the Women's World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Australia and France in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023. Copyright Tertius Pickard/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Tertius Pickard/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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Mackenzie Arnold's impact on Australia's biggest Women's World Cup moment was so immense that it's hardly surprising it took vanquished France coach Herve Renard to describe it best.

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“We came up against a Goliath of a goalie. What a game,” Renard said.

Australia won a penalty shootout 7-6 against Renard's team after their quarterfinal ended 0-0 in regulation and extra time on Saturday.

Arnold was “the winning factor,” the French coach acknowledged, “both in normal time but also in extra time and then during the shootout.”

Tertius Pickard/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Australia's Sam Kerr celebrates after scoring during a penalty shootout during the Women's World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Australia and France in Brisbane.Tertius Pickard/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

Indeed. Arnold was instrumental in Australia advancing to the semifinals for the first time and ending the so-called curse of the host nation.

Cortnee Vine, playing in her first World Cup and going on late as a substitute, was the 10th in a line of 11 penalty-takers picked for Australia. She strode to the spot, aiming to finish off where two of her teammates couldn't, and calmly converted to give the Matildas a famous victory.

The Australians became the only hosts other than the United States to win a quarterfinal in nine Women’s World Cups.

England beats Colombia 2-1 to advance to semifinals

Alessia Russo fired England into the semifinals of the Women's World Cup in a 2-1 win against Colombia on Saturday.

The Arsenal striker's second-half goal completed a come-from-behind win for the Lionesses after Leicy Santos had given the Colombians a first-half lead.

Lauren Hemp equalized before halftime and Russo struck the winner in the 63rd minute as England advanced to the semifinals for the third straight time. They will face co-host Australia for a spot in the final.

Sarina Wiegman is also a step closer to her second consecutive Women's World Cup final after her Netherlands team was runner-up to the United States in 2019.

England lost in the semifinals in 2015 and 2019, going out to Japan and the United States, respectively.

Rick Rycroft/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
England's Alessia Russo celebrates after scoring her side's 2nd goal during the Women's World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between England and Colombia at Stadium Australia.Rick Rycroft/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

Wiegman led the Lionesses to victory in the European Championship last year, having won that competition with the Netherlands in 2017.

With many of the favourites, including America, Germany, France and Japan, already eliminated, England will be increasingly confident that it can win its first Women's World Cup.

The Matildas will play England next Wednesday for a spot in the final after the European champions beat Colombia 2-1.

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