Women’s World Cup Semi-Final – Australia vs England Preview & Betting Tips: Partisan Crowd To Tame Lionesses?

Rachel DalyCo-hosts Australia take on England in the semi-final of the Women’s World Cup on Wednesday (11am BST; Live on TV: BBC1) at the Accor Stadium in Sydney. Can the well-supported Matildas tame the underperforming Lionesses? Read on for our full match preview with betting tips.

It hasn’t been all plain sailing for co-hosts Australia, who have hit a few bumps on their road to the last four. They came unstuck against a surprisingly strong Nigerian team during the group stages, losing by three goals to two. They still topped their group, before beating the Danes in relatively conclusive style in the first knockout round, though they had anything but an easy assignment against the French last time out.

Despite having the backing of a home crowd, the Aussies struggled to get the better of their French opponents. They failed to make a breakthrough in regulation time, nor could they get that all-important goal in extra time. Spot kicks proved to be an ally for the Matildas, who if nothing else showed themselves to be tough competitors.

England have also had to battle at this tournament and they too have shown plenty of grit and determination in tough situations. Their passage to the knockouts rounds was perhaps simpler, as they won three out of three, even if they failed to convince at times. Post group-stages, though, the Lionesses have had to scrap to stay in the competition. Just like the Aussies, they found Nigeria to be a tough opponent, only winning thanks to their superior penalty-taking abilities.

Against Colombia last time out, Sarina Wiegman’s women were tested once again. After a promising start, they found themselves behind, which meant that they had to dig deep, but dig deep they did, turning the tide through a Lauren Hemp equaliser. Alessia Russo completed the comeback with a fine and timely second-half finish. It was then over to the defenders to stand firm, which they did with aplomb.

Co-hosts Australia hard to beat

The way in which the Matildas stood firm against a threatening French attack last time out was impressive. Up until that point, the French had arguably looked the best team in the tournament going forward, so the fact that the competition co-hosts held them off for 120 minutes is not something to ignore.

What is more, throughout the tournament, the Matildas have shown that they are a team with several match winners. They have got quality going forward: Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler and Hayley Raso all ply their trade at the top of the club game. In Sam Kerr, they have one of the best goal-getters, ready and able to make an impact off the bench.

Lionesses still not roaring loud enough

Sure, this England team showed plenty of fight to make it through that Colombia game, but did they really create an impression that suggests they’ll have what it takes to easily overcome a very solid tournament co-host? The jury is out.

Suspended striker Lauren James is a big miss in terms of creativity, and the Lionesses just haven’t looked that threatening. They failed to score against Nigeria and never really created much. In contrast, the Aussies created lots and scored twice against that opponent. Moreover, each of the England goals against Colombia came from opposition mistakes.

Recent experience still fresh in the memory?

This will not be the first time that the Matildas have faced the Lionesses in 2023. In April the pair met for the first time in over four years, playing at the Brentford Community Stadium in London. On that occasion, Australia were the ones who left the field smiling after winning by two goals to nil. England dominated possession and were the more proactive team, but they underwhelmed in terms of end-product

Matildas not to be overlooked

It is very easy to let sentiment rule judgement here, but we really shouldn’t ignore the co-hosts. For starters, the fact that the Aussies will have a near full stadium behind them cannot be overlooked, while it is they who have probably created the better impression since emerging from the groups.

The Lionesses remain without Lauren James, who is one of the more creative players at Wiegman’s disposal. Sure, the likes of Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp and Rachel Daly pose a threat, but none of those players have really been getting the chances that they require. The likes of Georgia Stanway and Keira Walsh have so far failed to hit the creative heights, which is a problem.

In contrast, the Aussies have no shortage of creativity or end-product for that matter. As mentioned in this preview above, they have plenty of pace and power in that final third, while they’ve got goals in them too. Apart from their effort against China, have the Lionesses really looked a threat at this tournament? This preview would argue that they haven’t.

At the betting odds with the UK bookies, it could be worth wagering that the tournament’s co-hosts notch a couple of goals here. They have scored two or more in three of their last four games in the competition. It is not as if Australia didn’t create chances against the French, who in fairness, had looked stronger than England prior to exiting.

Sure, Sarina Wiegman’s side hasn’t conceded more than once at this tournament, but they haven’t exactly covered themselves in defensive glory in the knockouts, conceding chances against both Nigeria and Colombia. Against opposition with greater end-product, they could be in for something of a rude awakening.  Australia look generously priced and betting on them to perform positively in front of a partisan home crowd offers value that cannot be ignored. So these are our Australia vs England betting tips for this WWC semi-final preview:

  • Australia to win in normal time @ best odds of 12/5 with Bet365.
  • Australia to score over 1.5 goals in normal time @ 11/4 with Bet365.