For the primary time in girls’s footballing historical past England are by means of to the World Cup remaining.
After beating co-hosts Australia 3-1 on Wednesday, they may play Spain within the remaining this weekend.
La Roja have been the primary workforce to safe their place within the final two – however how a lot of a menace are they to the Lionesses?
Right here Sky Information seems at all the pieces you might want to know.
Path to the ultimate
Spain have been the clear favourites to win their group – having been drawn with Costa Rica, Zambia and Japan.
They started their Group C marketing campaign with strong 3-0 and 5-0 wins towards Costa Rica and Zambia respectively.
However their straight run of wins got here crashing down of their remaining fixture, which they misplaced 4-0 to Japan.
It noticed them fall to second place – however nonetheless allowed them to qualify and redeem themselves within the second spherical. That sport towards Switzerland was way more promising with targets from Aitana Bonmati, Jenni Hermoso and Alba Redondo and a 5-1 victory.
Subsequent got here a 2-1 win towards the Netherlands, which needed to go to further time after they equalised with simply minutes to go. Spain went by means of when left-back Olga Carmona stepped up with a shot off the bar to regain the lead.
La Roja’s semi-final towards Sweden adopted the same sample – however left followers on the sting of their seats till the ultimate quarter-hour when all three targets got here in fast succession.
Rising star Salma Paralluelo was the primary to hit the again of the online – earlier than an equaliser from Sweden’s Blomqvist. Once more Carmona saved the day to place Spain forward 2-1, scoring from a nook.
Pre-World Cup mutiny
Spain’s greatest weak point predates the match altogether – however might nonetheless assist England to their first World Cup win.
In late 2022 15 Spanish gamers declared themselves unavailable for choice over claims coach Jorge Vilda and his backroom workforce had turn out to be unconcerned with their emotional and bodily wellbeing.
The Spanish federation (RFEF) determined to again Vilda, who took over in 2015 after his predecessor Ignacio Quereda didn’t get Spain by means of the group phases of the World Cup in Canada.
Ultimately three gamers – Aitana Bonmati, Ona Batlle and Mariona Caldentey – returned and have been picked for Vilda’s World Cup squad.
However when Spain suffered their sudden and humiliating defeat towards Japan within the group stage, followers have been left questioning whether or not the hangover from the mass walk-out was responsible.
Ones to look at
In regular circumstances, Spain’s star participant Alexia Putellas would normally pose the most important menace.
The 29-year-old Barcelona captain has gained back-to-back Ballon d’Ors and a minimum of seven league titles, seven Copas de la Reinas, and two UEFA Champions League trophies for her membership.
However after she tore a ligament forward of final 12 months’s Euros, questions stay on how robust she’ll show to be within the remaining.
She’s solely been in a position to begin two of Spain’s World Cup video games to this point.
As a substitute the workforce have been counting on her Barcelona teammate Bonmati – who has netted three of Spain’s 17 targets.
Nineteen-year-old Salma Paralluelo is one other key participant – having scored in two video games this match.
Vilda has solely performed her as a second-half substitute to this point, but when Putellas is not feeling robust sufficient on the day – he would possibly swap her to the beginning line.
Spain’s goalkeeper Cata Coll is comparatively inexperienced however is effectively supported by defenders Carmona and Battle.
Document to this point
That is solely the third time Spain have certified for the World Cup.
However since they first made an look in 2015 they’ve made fast progress.
Most of their success has nonetheless been on the Euros, nevertheless, having reached the quarter finals final 12 months. In contrast till this 12 months they’d solely ever gained a single World Cup match.
The nationwide workforce is at the moment ranked sixth on the earth, behind rivals England in fourth.
At membership degree, their predominant home league – Liga F – is now absolutely skilled and with World Cup victories final 12 months for the under-17 and under-20 squads, funding and perception within the girls’s sport there’s robust.
Final time they confronted England – within the 2022 Euro quarter finals – they misplaced 2-1.
They’ve met the Lionesses 16 instances since they first got here face-to-face in 1993 – and have solely gained three video games, in comparison with England’s seven. They’ve drawn on six events.