Alnwick’s Lucy Bronze scored the winner again as England booked their place in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals after a fabulous victory against hosts Canada.
The former Alnwick Town defender and Duchess’s High School pupil played a huge part in the Lionesses’ triumph in the quarter-final clash in Vancouver in the early hours (BST) today.
Not only was she solid at right-back, she yet again scored the winning goal – not bad for a defender!
Bronze, 23, was also the heroine of the last round, scoring a spectacular, long-distance winner in the nation’s 2-1 victory over Norway on Monday.
This time, Bronze’s goal came from a well-worked free-kick, a training-ground routine which England have tried in previous matches. She ghosted in from the far, left-hand side to head the ball over the Canadian keeper and in off the underside of the bar in the 15th minute.
It came three minutes after England’s first goal, an individual effort from Jodie Taylor, capitalising on a slip from Canadian defender Lauren Sesselmann.
Canada pulled one back just before the break through Christine Sinclair, after keeper Karen Bardsley had spilled the ball. But England hung on in the second half to record a famous victory.
More than 54,000 fans were packed into BC Place, the majority hoping for a home win for Canada, who were ranked eighth in the world, two places below England, who had never made it past the last eight before. But they will now face Japan, who beat Australia in their quarter-final, for a berth in the final, with the match kicking off at midnight on Wednesday.
England opened their campaign with a 1-0 defeat against France, with the main talking point before kick-off being Bronze playing out of position on the left of a five-woman midfield.
The Manchester City defender started in a more familiar right-back role in the 2-1 win over Mexico, but limped off in the 84th minute. Manager Mark Sampson then made several changes and Bronze played no part in the 2-1 victory against Colombia which guaranteed a spot in the knockout phase.