England's Lucy Bronze elated at reaching World Cup final

AFP , Wednesday 16 Aug 2023

England defender Lucy Bronze was elated after achieving a long-held ambition as the side reached their first Women's World Cup final with a 3-1 defeat of tournament co-hosts Australia.

Lucy Bronze
World Cup final dream realised - England defender Lucy Bronze in action during a 3-1 semi-final win over Australia in Sydney (AFP)

"The one thing I've always wanted to do is get to a World Cup final," Bronze told the BBC after Wednesday's semi-final win in Sydney.

"After two times of such disappointment, I can't believe it," added Bronze, twice a losing semi-finalist.

"We played how we wanted to, we were determined, resilient. We knew the crowd would be crazy and we talked about silencing them and at the end we did that.

"We all dreamed of being in the final, all our family and friends have booked to stay here until then because they all believed in us. It's been amazing to play against Australia, in Australia, what a fantastic tournament they had but we're in the final."

European champions England took the lead through Ella Toone's 36th-minute strike into the top right corner before Australia heroine Sam Kerr, making her first start of the tournament, equalised with a long-range shot in the 63rd minute.

Lauren Hemp, however, restored England's advantage in the 71st minute after firing into the bottom far corner from Millie Bright's long ball upfield.

Alessia Russo then put the result beyond doubt when she made it 3-1 four minutes before full-time, beating Australia goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold with a well-struck low shot.

It was the first time England had reached a major football World Cup final since the men's team beat the then West Germany 4-2 at Wembley back in 1966.

They will now face fellow first-time Women's World Cup finalists Spain in Sydney on Sunday.

"Spain have been very good, they did have that defeat against Japan," said Bronze, who plays her club football with Spanish side Barcelona.

"Me and Keira (Walsh) know 90 percent of the squad very well so we'll be getting questions in the analysis I'm sure."

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