Australia v England

Venue : Stadium Australia Date : 16 August Kick-off : 11:00 BST
Coverage : Watch live on BBC One, listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sounds and follow on the BBC Sport website & app. Full coverage details; latest news

Reaching semi-finals of major tournaments is what England “are known for”, says defender Lucy Bronze.

The Lionesses will compete in their third successive Women’s World Cup semi-final on Wednesday against co-hosts Australia, having beaten Colombia 2-1 in the last eight.

Bronze, 31, has played a key role in reaching all three, having had a breakout tournament in 2015.

“People said England were the team that were going to flop,” said Bronze.

“If we hadn’t have got to the semi-finals, I would have said we would have underperformed. Our performances haven’t been our best, granted, but the results have been there.

“We’ve got to the semi-final, which is what this England team is known for doing.”

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As well as reaching the World Cup semi-finals in 2015, 2019 and now 2023, England also made it to the last four of Euro 2017 and Euro 2022, which they went on to win on home soil.

They are yet to lift the Women’s World Cup but are current favourites with the United States, winners in 2015 and 2019, and European giants Germany knocked out early.

Meanwhile, Australia have reached the semi-finals for the first time and will have home advantage in Sydney when the teams meet on Wednesday.

“We got past the hurdle last year in the Euros and finally made it to the final,” added Bronze. “We got past that dreaded [feeling of] always being beat in the semi-finals so we’ve got that in the locker.

“Many players in the squad were part of that so we know how difficult it is to get this far and also how to get to the final and to win games.

“We are the only team to be in three consecutive World Cup semi-finals at the minute, which obviously puts us in good stead.

“We know what we’re facing for the next game. It’s going to be another feisty affair, which we’re looking forward to.”

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‘Kerr is the opponent and there’s a job to be done’

Millie Bright waves to the crowd after victory over ColombiaMillie Bright has won four successive WSL titles with Chelsea alongside Sam Kerr

Bronze says England have had to “fight every single game” to progress in Australia - much like they did in Canada in 2015 when she broke into the squad, taking the right-back spot off Alex Scott.

The Lionesses crept past Haiti and Denmark in the group stages with 1-0 wins before needing a penalty shootout in the last 16 to defeat Nigeria. They also had to come from behind to beat Colombia in Saturday’s quarter-final.

“It reminds me of the fights we had [in 2015],” said Bronze. “I think the difference with this team is we have won trophies and we have won tournaments so we do know what to do.

“We knew coming into the tournament that it wasn’t going to be easy. There was a lot of outside noise about whether England were going to be able to cope well with everything thrown at us and [reaching] the semi-finals is what is expected.”

England will come up against an Australia squad packed with familiar faces from the Women’s Super League including Chelsea superstar Sam Kerr, who has almost returned to full fitness following injury.

Fourteen of Australia’s 23-player squad have played in the WSL, with 11 featuring last season.

Kerr, who has won four successive league titles with Chelsea, is widely regarded as one of the world’s best forwards and will go head to head with club-mates Millie Bright and Jess Carter on Wednesday.

“She’s an amazing player. They’re a brilliant team but so are we,” said Bright.

“As soon as we step over that white line, [Kerr’s] the opponent so it just doesn’t matter what happens away from there. She’s the opponent and there’s a job to be done.

“I think the world already knows and they don’t need me to reiterate how good she is. She shows that on a regular basis. But we’ve got great players too.”

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