A three-minute double salvo from England was enough for them to beat Canada and book their place in the semi final against Japan on Wednesday. Canada started well and England were on the back foot, but opened the scoring against the run of play in the eleventh minute. Sesselmann received the ball just inside the Canadian half and got the ball caught up in her feet and slipped. Jodie Taylor took full advantage, running to the edge of the area and unleashing a shot past McLeod. England’s advantage doubled three minutes later as a free kick from Fara Williams found Lucy Bronze unmarked at the far post; her header looped up and over McLeod, hit the underside of the bar and went in. A further set piece almost saw England score a third as a looping header from Katie Chapman hit the top of the crossbar and bounce clear. Canada scored just before the break when Karen Bardsley spilled a cross from Ashley Lawrence and Christine Sinclair was on hand to take the ball and score.
The second half started with Bardsley’s right eye swelling up and leading to her being substituted. Canada continued to create chances, but a combination of poor final balls and wasteful finishing meant that they posed very little genuine threat to the England goal, whilst at the other end, a curling shot from Taylor was tipped wide excellently by McLeod. It was a scrappy game, but one that England just about deserved to win and qualify for the semi final against Japan.