The semifinalists at the Women’s World Cup have been decided after Australia advanced on penalty kicks over France and England beat Colombia.
Australia and England joined Spain and Sweden in the last four.
With 2011 champion Japan out of the lineup, this year’s World Cup will crown a first-time winner. The United States’ bid for a three-peat ended in a penalty shootout loss to Sweden in the round of 16. Norway, the 1995 champion, also lost in the round of 16 and two-time champion Germany didn’t reach the knockout rounds.
Co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the quadrennial tournament for international soccer’s most coveted trophy kicked off July 20 and has featured an expanded field of 32 teams, up from 24. There are 64 matches during the tournament.
On Saturday, Australia edged France 7-6 in a penalty shootout after a scoreless to reach the semifinals for the first time. The Matildas became the only team other than the United States to advance past the quarterfinals of a Women’s World Cup as the host nation.
Alessia Russo fired England into the semifinals in a 2-1 win against Colombia. 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.
On Friday, Spain advanced with a 2-1 win over Netherlands and Sweden beat Japan 2-1.
Spain faces Sweden in Auckland at 8 p.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) in the first semifinal on Tuesday, and Australia plays England in Sydney at 8 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) on Wednesday.
The winners will meet in the final in Sydney on Aug. 20.
Fox holds the English-language media rights in the United States for the Women’s World Cup. Telemundo holds the Spanish-language rights.
Fox will broadcast a record 29 matches over the air on its main network and the rest of the games will be aired on FS1. All matches will be streamed on the Fox app.
FIFA struck a collective deal with the European Broadcasting Union in mid-June, ending a standoff with broadcasters in five major European television markets. The deal guarantees the games will air in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Britain.
After Japan was eliminated early from the Olympics two years ago on home soil, the team rebuilt by hiring a new coach and focusing on youth. The result was that Japan scored in droves at the Women’s World Cup, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Sweden in the quarterfinals.
The Netherland’s peripatetic campaign ended with a 2-1 quarterfinal loss to Spain and the sting of bitterness and regret.
Spain is the favorite to win the title at +155, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. England is listed next at +190, followed by Australia at +380 and Sweden at +470.
AP Women’s World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/fifa-womens-world-cup