After seizing their opportunities against a dangerous Colombian team, England advanced to the Women's World Cup semi-finals against co-hosts Australia.

The European champions have not played their best football in the competition, but this was a far more balanced performance in front of a hostile crowd in Sydney.

After goalkeeper Mary Earps was defeated by a quick-thinking lob in the first half, the Lionesses were rewarded with two slices of luck that they seized on after they were mostly composed in defence and hard-working in the attack.

Lauren Hemp equalized only seven minutes after Leicy Santos had taken Earps off guard when Colombia goalkeeper Catalina Perez spilled a straightforward gather in the six-yard box under pressure from Alessia Russo.

Russo, an Arsenal striker who had only scored once in four World Cup appearances before Saturday's quarterfinal, fought hard out of possession, earning her chance when she pounced on a nice deflection to score England's second.

Later, Earps was forced into action, tipping Lorena Durango Bedoya's shot over the bar, while Colombia's superb offensive line-up, which included Real Madrid's teenage phenom Linda Caicedo, placed England under further strain.

The Lionesses, who faced a crowd of 75,784 mostly supporting Colombia, will face co-hosts Australia next on August 16.

England had to fight their way through the competition, needing 1-0 wins against Haiti and Denmark in the group stages before defeating Nigeria in a penalty shootout in the final 16.

Even without their leading scorer Lauren James, who was sent off against Nigeria and is currently serving a two-match suspension, England still managed to score enough goals to win a challenging game.

Colombia rated 21 places lower than England, had previously established their value in Australia, defeating Euro 2022 finalists Germany and proceeding in style.

Their aggressive line-up gave England issues as they pressed frantically for an equalizer late on, putting the Lionesses' back five to the test.

England, led by the center-back combination of Millie Bright, Alex Greenwood, and Jess Carter, held their own against Colombia's size and persistence.

The stands at Stadium Australia were packed with yellow jerseys. Colombian fans were on their feet, waving scarves over their heads after each move past the halfway line, and they whistled loudly when England was in control.

This was no easy triumph, but the perseverance and tenacity that England has been obliged to exhibit thus far in the tournament once again propelled them over the line on Saturday, and rightly so.

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