Sarina Wiegman’s England must avenge the sole defeat they’ve suffered in 37 games under the leadership of the Dutch tactician if they’re to reach the World Cup Final at the expense of co-hosts Australia.
That 2-0 loss to the Matildas in Brentford only came four months ago, but there are at least two significant factors in the Lionesses’ favour in Sydney that weren’t at play on that occasion and our Australia vs England predictions expect the away side to prevail.
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England to avenge sole defeat under Wiegman in Sydney
Australia will doubtless draw significant confidence from their win over an unusually listless Lionesses side back in April.
However, that win was achieved in the absence of first choice England centre-halves Alex Greenwood and Millie Bright thanks to match-winning goal and assist from a fully fit Sam Kerr.
Bright should have as good an insight as any into stopping the hosts’ talisman given she trains alongside her for Chelsea, while Manchester City’s Greenwood played 90 mins when Kerr blanked against them WSL last term.
Both are fully fit now, whereas Kerr isn’t, having played chiefly as a substitute so far in the tournament and that should give England the solid foundation to see off the Matildas.
France were able to register 16 efforts on goal against Tony Gustavsson’s troops in their quarter-final and England, with Alessia Russo and WSL top-goalscorer Rachel Daly in contention, aren’t likely to be as profligate as Les Bleus.
Tip: England to win @ 6/5
Defences starting to look less impregnable as competition heats up
Australia have kept clean sheets in all bar one of their games so far in this tournament, but the one game they did concede in (the 2-3 loss to Nigeria) suggested their defence is far from impenetrable. All three Nigerian goals owed something to errors or indecisiveness.
England have also been riding their luck defensively, but that hasn’t stopped them conceding in two of their last three World Cup assignments. In-form Man City forward Hayley Raso will be a big danger for the Matildas, while Kerr is unlikely to be forgiving if a chance does come her way.
Overs look underrated after wide-open quarter final clashes
Of the four quarter-finals in Australia and New Zealand, three saw both teams score, with two delivering rewards for over 2.5 goals bettors.
True, the only one that didn’t see at least two goals scored in normal time featured Australia, but it also featured a total of 25 efforts on goal. The 8/5 about more than two goals scored has to look like decent value as a result.
Tip: Over 2.5 goals @ 8/5