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England shock Australia to make the U21 World Cup semi-final
England Under-21 Women battled their way into the semi finals of the ERGO Junior World Cup when they beat rivals Australia 1-0 in Thursday afternoon’s quarter final match in Germany.
A 26th minute goal from Canterbury’s Grace Balsdon proved enough to take the win searing heat in Monchengladbach, which had led to the game being split into four periods of 17.5 minutes to help the teams manage the heat.
The win means England will now play Argentina in the semi final on Friday (1.30pm UK time) following their win over the USA.
Defence proved key for England, as they soaked up wave after wave of Australian attacks, and successfully defended multiple penalty corners which left their rivals frustrated.
England got the decisive goal from their only penalty corner of the match, following which they resolutely stood firm to take a deserved victory and book their place in the last four of the tournament.
Coach Craig Keegan said: “Overall there’s a great feeling of pride for the girls. We knew it was going to take a strong defensive performance and they certainly produced that.
“We had limited opportunities going forwards but our resilience and commitment to taking these chances was world class.
“The match started in 42 degree temperatures so the match was changed to four quarters allowing both teams the opportunity to manage their players. We now look forward to our semi final against Argentina.”
England were not entirely without their chances on goal with Jo Leigh crossing to Olivia Chilton, but she just couldn’t get on the end of the first half chance.
And when the crucial goal did come it wasn’t without its controversy. Initially disallowed by the umpires, it was then awarded after review with Balsdon scoring high into the net from just inside the circle from her second shot, after her first had hit the front runner.