England shows resolve vs. Colombia, will meet Australia in semifinals

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Alessia Russo has had a pretty good source of advice to call upon for this Women’s World Cup  – former England men’s captain David Beckham.

And with her winning goal in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Colombia in Sydney, the Lionesses forward took her country storming into the last four of the tournament, a stage Beckham never reached during his glittering international career.

England’s Alessia Russo scores vs. Colombia in 63′ | 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

England's Alessia Russo scores vs. Colombia in 63' | 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

Russo fired a low shot past Colombia goalkeeper on Catalina Perez on 63 minutes to complete an impressive revival after going behind early, before being later subbed out for Chloe Kelly as England set up a semifinal blockbuster against host nation Australia on Wednesday (coverage begins at 5 a.m. ET with kickoff at 6 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

Earlier this year, Russo and Beckham connected – Russo is the favorite player of Beckham’s daughter Harper – and the ex-Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star passed on certain tips about dealing with the stresses of World Cups.

[England vs. Colombia highlights: Lionesses advance to semifinals with 2-1 comeback win]

Whatever impact it had, Russo certainly held firm when needed here, and on moves England, the oddsmakers’ favorite and seeking to add more silverware to its victory in the 2022 European Championships.

Earlier, Leicy Santos produced one of the great goals in Women’s World Cup history with a stunning effort to put Colombia ahead after 44 minutes.

Leicy Santos’ STUNNING goal for Colombia vs. England | Every Angle

Leicy Santos' STUNNING goal for Colombia vs. England | Every Angle

From just outside the penalty area Santos beat goalkeeper Mary Earps with an extraordinary chip that was placed to perfection, floating above Earps’ reach and just underneath the crossbar.

But if England was rattled, it didn’t show it and responded with speed, efficiency and a little bit of luck. Deep into first-half stoppage time, Russo’s effort drifted toward Perez, and Perez came sliding out to collect it but saw the ball someone squirm out of her grasp.

[Australia edges France on PKs, first Women’s World Cup host in semis since 2003]

It landed in the path of Lauren Hemp, who calmly poked it into the empty net from close range. That set the stage for Russo’s second-half poise and ultimately, what will be a third straight semifinal for the squad, having played the United States close in the 2019 semis before being edged out in a tight one.

England was missing its midfield playmaker Lauren James, serving the first of two-game ban for a red card infraction against Nigeria, but did a fine job in curtailing the impact of Colombia’s teenage sensation Linda Caicedo, who never got the chance to make a serious impact.

England vs. Colombia Highlights | 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup | Quarterfinals

England vs. Colombia Highlights | 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup | Quarterfinals

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter at @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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