Lauren Hemp has come of age to torment Australia

Lauren Hemp of England celebrates after scoring her team's second goal

Lauren Hemp of England celebrates after scoring her team’s second goal

Australia 1 England 3

Lauren Hemp didn’t even need to look at the ball when she played the assist that allowed Alicia Russo to clinically advance her. Crush Australia Dreams and push England to First Women’s World Cup Final.

After collecting the ball in her own half and running through the intimidating Matildas defence, the best player on the field had the ability to play a through ball that finally quenched the deafening crowd of 75,784.

Well-deservedly named Player of the Match, Hemp certainly found useful time to produce her best performance yet in an England shirt. the Manchester city The forward, who just turned 23 earlier this month, has always shown huge promise and potential, but this historic night in Sydney was the night the Norfolk girl came of age at international level, with a performance that made an entire nation proud.

She wasn’t the only one who played great, of course, in what was really a Great team effort from Englandbraving the Australian cauldron of noise and showing tremendous resilience to get through it The first English football world final since 1966. Alex Greenwood and Jess Carter’s formidable defensive efforts, fine finishes by Ella Ton and Rosso, and Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanaway’s domination of midfield helped the European champions eliminate the co-hosts in the semi-finals. But Hemp, who also scored England’s second goal, applied the overturn.

England's Lauren Hemp, left, challenges Australia's Claire Polkenhorn for the ball during the Women's World Cup semi-final soccer match between Australia and England

Hemp made herself a nuisance to Australian defenders throughout the game – AP/Abbie Parr

Toone, who expertly led England up front in the first half after Hemp and Russo combined efforts to supply her with cuts into the top corner with the outside of her boot, said Hemp would have to be a “nightmare” to defend against. “It’s been like this for the last few games,” she said. “She’s just a nuisance. She’s running backwards, she’s on her two feet, she’s fast and strong.”

Such pace and power caused problems all evening for the four Australians, and Hemp got her call with tenacity and composure. Mille Bright sent a long ball towards the box and, under pressure from Hemp, Lyon right-back Ellie Carpenter failed to clear the danger and the former Bristol City player punished it with a deadly finish.

Lauren Hemp of England scored her team's second goal

Hemp’s was England’s best player on the field – Getty Images / Sajad Imanian

“I came into this competition with a lot of faith,” Hemp said after the match, “and I just want to be brave.” “I just want to show what I can on the biggest stage in the world. As a group, everyone brings out the best in me. Everyone pushes me to try to be better.”

Hemp, who has spent much of her career playing wide as a winger, has been deployed across the middle for England this tournament since switching to a 3-5-2 formation and added: “I’ve kind of taken on a new role, I think, in the team, of running behind players and getting “On the ball, creating something, and feeling really scared at the moment. I feel like I’m playing some of my best football. There’s obviously a lot to show, but as a group we’re heading in the right direction and personally I’m happy with my performance but I’m very proud of the team.” .

Particularly vital was the timing of Hemp’s goal, shortly after Chelsea Striker Sam Kerr sent the vast majority of the crowd inside Sydney’s Olympic Stadium into ecstasy and sparked wild scenes of celebration in many packed fan parks across Australia when she equalized in the second half with a missile from range past Marie Erbes. For Captain Matildas, the script seemed all set for her stroke to propel them to glory, but England and Hemp produced a deadly plot to book an appointment. Meeting with Spain in the final on Sunday In Sydney, at the same stadium.

It came at a time when England were under real pressure and the Matildas should have leveled at 2-2 after a Hemp goal, with Kerr striking in from six yards amid a tidal wave of fanfare from the home fans, who were stunned. counting. But England remained firm. As Australia’s Swedish coach Tony Gustafsson said afterwards: “It takes a moment and England were more efficient than we were at the end. We had three sits to make it 2-2. Then, one ball behind and it’s over.”

Asked to sum up her feelings, with England winning the World Cup semi-finals in their back-to-back attempts after narrowly losing to Japan and the United States in 2015 and 2019 respectively, Hemme added: “Oh my God, what a feeling. I feel like there are no words to describe.” What we all feel right now. Getting to the World Cup Final is an incredible achievement. It’s every kid’s dream. We have a few days to recover but then we come back again. We want to win this, we’ve come a long way now, so why not?

“As a team we have such inner faith and as much confidence as the group. No matter what happens outside, no matter who we face, every challenge we’ve been able to solve. In every game, we’ve been able to compete and we’ve been able to excel. This team is very special. I’ve seen the year “The past is how successful we have been. We want to do the same thing again and we want to take it one step further. We all have a dream.”

This dream is now closer than ever to reality. England are now one victory away from football’s eternity, and Spain will know: if they want to stop England, they must somehow stop Hemp.

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