Lynch: No sweeter win for Australia than beating England (1:50)

Joey Lynch looks ahead to a rivalry clash in the World Cup semifinals with hosts Australia set to face England. (1:50)

Tom Hamilton, Senior WriterAug 14, 2023, 06:12 AM ET


• Joined ESPN in 2011
• Covered two Olympics, a pair of Rugby World Cups and two British & Irish Lions tours
• Previously rugby editor, and became senior writer in 2018

SYDNEY – Keira Walsh is hoping England can silence the home crowd when they face co-hosts Australia in the Women’s World Cup semifinal in Sydney on Wednesday but said her side are giving little attention to the historical sporting rivalry between the two nations.

Walsh, 26, started in England’s 2019 World Cup semifinal defeat to the U.S. and was an ever-present in the Lionesses’ triumph at the Euros last summer. She has played in front of raucous home support like the backing they enjoyed in England last summer, but also in other matches where they have been heavily outnumbered in the stands like Saturday’s quarterfinal against Colombia.

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With England expecting to walk out and face a stadium full of Aussie green and gold this week, Walsh is ready for the hostile welcome but is also hoping their performance will be enough to quieten the home support.

“[Home support] was massive for us at the Euros, especially in the final,” Walsh said. “There are those moments where the opposition could score and it shifts momentum sometimes when you’re playing it gives you an extra push, when you know the crowd is behind you.

“But also though when you can quieten the crowd it is a very nice feeling. I think for us trying to take the momentum out of the game is going to be important.

“There are positives and negatives for both. We have experienced both. We have experienced it against Colombia, they were really loud and had some amazing fans. So we have experienced it at this tournament now and we’re looking forward to again.”

Walsh added: “I think there is pressure on both teams, it’s a massive game. We felt that in the summer having a home Euros. You can see it as pressure but they also have support in the stands. There is pressure on both teams it is a massive game.”

Walsh said England will have to be at their best if they are to secure a spot in the World Cup final.

“We’ll have to bring our best game as I’ve said,” Walsh added. “They have great players. They are playing really well.

“They have a really direct style of football. So I think we’ll have to be on our A-game. But We’ve had a good few training sessions now and we’re just looking forward to it. Any semifinal it’s not difficult to get yourself up for it. There’s an opportunity to make a World Cup final so we’ll give it everything.”

In a summer where England’s men and women faced Australia in the Ashes, and England lost the women’s Netball World Cup final to Australia earlier in August, this is yet another clash to add to that list. However, Walsh said the long-established rivalry is not being considered.

“I wouldn’t say this is a major rivalry in football. They are a great team and it is a semifinal,” Walsh said.

“Whoever you’re playing it is going to be an intense game. So for us that is one of the last things we’re thinking of it.”