WC2013: England v Wales (Quarter-final)

England v Wales

A semi-final place was at stake as England met wales in the 2013 Women’s World Cup, the two teams met under a week ago in a group game with Team England coming out on top 9-4. Wales were coming off a huge win in their play-in game against Austria scoring 21 goals, while England finishing as firth seed had a day off. Not only were the teams battling each other but they also had to contend with the rising heat.

England took control from the first draw with Lucy Lynch coming out with the ball, before Lafferty’s shot was saved. England had come out to play already in top gear, not letting wales have any time on the ball. The constant pressure allowed Team England to re-take possession from wales and remain on attack. England had chances early to take the lead but, attacker Sophie Brett made the shot count after Ali Smith picked up a rebound from a Sally Keogh save to find Kirsten Lafferty running up midfield, passed to Emily Gray who set up Brett (1-0 ). England’s second came from a Sally Keogh save on a welsh attack, which after a slow clear, picked out Gray unmarked up the field, Gray dished the ball to Kirsten Lafferty who had plenty of time to pick her spot (2-0).

The England attack played a patient game, slowing the ball down but moving it player to player making sure the Welsh defence were kept busy, Ali Smith struck for England coming off a cut to receive a feed from Gray to take the score to 3-0. Rachel Kircheimer rounded up the first half scoring from a free position to take England into a 4-0 lead. Team England received a yellow card before the break with Alex Bruce called up for a dangerous shot with seconds left. Wales from the possession attempted a shot from far out, Lucy Wray-Mercey spotting an empty net, however Keogh was alert and intercepted the ball.

England started the second half a player down as Bruce was still off for a yellow card, but they managed to kill the time and go back even. With England in the driving seat, Wales were always on the back foot, their attack was met with strong English defence repelling any drive and pressure on players led to turnovers or missed passes. Lafferty and Watt carried on tormenting the Welsh defence before Sarah Taylor on a strong drive from the top of the fan, found the top corner with six minutes played (5-0).

The sixth goal for England came from a classic Brett goal, cutting from low receiving the ball; rolling round takes a quick shot to beat Erin Walters in the Welsh Goal. The following draw control won by wales, gave them their first attacking possession of the half, but this was soon turned-over and England came back on the attack. Even in the extreme heat, England continued to press wales all over the field especially in defence, forcing stray passes from Wales. Keely Watt and Laura Merrifield would get the next two goals for England, both scoring from close range, Watt after picking up a loose ball and Merrifield from a solo drive to goal (8-0).
Watt scored England’s ninth, again picking up a loose ball in front of goal and with defenders crashing in, pops ball into the welsh goal. The following goal came within a minute, Gray finding Merrifield on the near post, quick-sticks the ball before the Welsh goalie could react. Wales had a final opportunity to get on the scoreboard, but this was denied by Cat Gaunt now in goal.

A confident performance from England, shutting out a welsh team that have been performing well in the tournament. England played a tough game, on the back of solid defence which allowed them to control possession and limit wales to just four shots on goal. The 10-0 score means Team England will face the USA in the semi-final, who defeated Haudenosaunee 20-1.