My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Jodie Taylor 11, Lucy Bronze 14
Christine Sinclair 42
England made two changes from their win over Norway, the least Mark Sampson has made in the World Cup. Jill Scott and Jodie Taylor came in for Toni Duggan and Fran Kirby.
Canada named the same starting eleven that had beaten Switzerland in their Last 16 tie.
Canada should have taken the lead in the 8th minute. Karen Carney had broken into the Canadian box but was tackled by Sophie Schmidt who launched a counter-attack. Christine Sinclair played a world-class ball to the unmarked Melissa Tancredi, she controlled the ball and then fired the ball over the crossbar.
At the very least she had to test Karen Bardsley in goal, and this miss proved costly three minutes later. Lauren Sesselmann slipped, Jodie Taylor robbed her of the ball, ran at the goal and after beating Allysha Chapman, she expertly placed the ball into the bottom-left corner.
Three minutes later, it was 2-0 to England. All World Cup, England had tried to pick out Lucy Bronze or Katie Chapman from free-kicks. For some reason, Canada put their smallest player Allysha Chapman up against Bronze. Fara Williams picked out Bronze at the far post, her header looped over Erin McLeod, hit the underside and bounced over the line.
Canada engaged in a team huddle before kicking-off, and they nearly got a goal back. From a free-kick, Schmidt picked out the unmarked Tancredi who headed over. Then Sinclair tried to curl the ball into the far corner, but her effort went wide.
England nearly had a third. Williams’ free-kick this time picked out Katie Chapman, her header looped up, McLeod missed it and could only watch as the bar hit the crossbar.
Canada had a series of scrappy chances, but in the 42nd minute, they had pulled a goal back. Ashley Lawrence turned Jade Moore to break into the box, she curled the ball towards the far post and in trying to catch, Karen Bardsley spilt the ball and Sinclair was there to accept the invitation to score.
England started the second half strongly, and Katie Chapman set up Carney who slipped at the crucial moment, and her 20-yard shot went narrowly over.
In defending a Canadian free-kick, Bardsley had to get treatment for an injury to her eye. Her right eye had closed up, and it is possible that she had an allergic reaction to one of the rubber pellets from the pitch. After a couple of minutes, Siobhan Chamberlain replaced her. This means that Carly Telford is the only England player not to play in the World Cup so far.
Another Canadian error nearly handed England a third goal. Carney stole the ball from Schmidt, she set up Taylor whose curling shot was outstandingly tipped round the post by McLeod. From the resulting corner, Steph Houghton’s shot was blocked brilliantly by Sesselmann.
England then thought they had a penalty. Jill Scott’s whipped cross picked out Carney in the box who went down under Wilkinson’s challenge. The Canadian defender had fouled Carney, but the referee correctly ruled the Lioness player had controlled the ball with her hand before the challenge.
Canada had a glorious chance when indecision from first Laura Bassett and then Houghton gave Tancredi a shooting chance, but inexplicitly she tried to pass to Sinclair and England could clear. Then Canada had a free-kick 20-yards from goal, but Sinclair’s attempt went over.
It was then England’s turn that have a 20-yard free kick, but Houghton’s effort was saved by McLeod.
Canada kept on coming. Adriana Leon’s cross was only cleared to Sinclair whose shot was headed clear by Houghton. Then Allysha Chapman played Leon down the left, she broke into the box but couldn’t get her shot off, the ball squirmed past Chamberlain – but Claire Rafferty was there to clear the ball.
Leon’s cross then picked out Schmidt, but from 10 yards she volleyed over. Allysha Chapman then put a good ball in but first Schmidt and then Kadeisha Buchanan couldn’t get a shot off. England could only clear to Josee Belanger whose long-range effort was stopped by Chamberlain’s diving catch. That was the first save she had to make. Then from a corner, Sinclair could only head wide.
In second half stoppage time, there was a moment of real controversy. Just outside the box, Taylor was fouled by Sesselmann, but the Canadian defender was only booked. Taylor was through on goal, and Sesselmann was clearly the last defender, so it looked like a clear red card. Houghton fired the free-kick over, but that decision became an inconvenient side-note as England held on to reach their first ever World Cup Semi-Final.
Jodie Taylor – England
England: (4-2-3-1) Karen Bardsley (Siobhan Chamberlain 52), Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Laura Bassett, Claire Rafferty, Jade Moore, Fara Williams (Ellen White 79), Jill Scott, Katie Chapman, Karen Carney (Casey Stoney 90+3), Jodie Taylor.
Goals: Jodie Taylor 11, Lucy Bronze 14.
Booked: Jade Moore 63.
Canada: (4-3-3) Erin McLeod, Rhian Wilkinson (Diana Matheson 62), Kadeisha Buchanan, Lauren Sesselmann, Allysha Chapman, Ashley Lawrence, Desiree Scott (Kaylyn Kyle 77), Sophie Schmidt, Melissa Tancredi (Adriana Leon 71), Josee Belanger, Christine Sinclair.
Goal: Christine Sinclair 42.
Booked: Lauren Sesselmann 90+3.