England relishing partisan atmosphere at World Cup semi-final
SYDNEY, Aug 13 – England players hold no fear about facing Women’s World Cup co-hosts Australia in their semi-final on Wednesday, saying they welcome the vociferous atmosphere that will greet them at Stadium Australia.
The Lionesses had a taste of it when they beat Colombia in the quarter-final at the same venue on Saturday, with the majority of the 75,784-strong crowd supporting the South Americans and jeering every England touch of the ball.
Despite that, goals from Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo helped the European champions come from behind to win 2-1 and book their last-four spot against Australia, who came through on penalties against France.
England striker Beth England, who came on as a substitute, said it proved that the team could thrive in an intimidating atmosphere.
“Every time we touched the ball they were booing. but I think you just relish it because (this is) the atmosphere you want from stadiums,” England, 29, said.
“We’ve been in this situation — it’s nothing these girls aren’t used to now. We are getting it more and more in the women’s game.”
Australia have broken domestic records for women’s soccer match attendances throughout the tournament, helping the team reach the semi-finals for the first time.
However, Hemp, who now has two goals in the tournament, was full of confidence and eager to get back on the pitch just moments after the final whistle on Saturday evening.
“The atmosphere was incredible… Bring on Australia. I am absolutely buzzing. I am over the moon and can’t wait,” the 23-year-old forward told ITV.
“I couldn’t even hear the person next to me,” she added of the noise made by the fans.
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