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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Russo’s second-half goal lifts England into World Cup semi-finals

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 England's Alessia Russo scores the match-winning goal against Colombia. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

Alessia Russo’s second-half goal lifted England to a thrilling 2-1 quarter-final victory over Colombia on Saturday and into the Women’s World Cup semi-finals for the third consecutive time.

Lauren Hemp also scored for the European champions, who now face hosts Australia on Wednesday in Sydney for a place in their first World Cup final.

“It’s exciting, what more do you want in front of a home crowd?” Russo, who was named player of the match, told ITV. “We got a bit of that tonight against Colombia. You want to play against the best teams.

“England fans can always dare to dream but we’ll carry on working hard,” Russo said.

Colombia, who were the lowest-ranked team remaining at 25 and had never made it past the round of 16, opened the scoring with a goal from Leicy Santos to the delight of the large swathes of yellow-and-blue clad Colombian fans among the crowd of 75,784 at Stadium Australia.

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The fourth-ranked Lionesses, missing top scorer Lauren James to a two-game suspension, were one of just four top-10 ranked teams left standing — along with Sweden (3), Spain (6) and Australia (10) — in a tournament that has been full of delightful twists and turns.

“I’m very, very happy to stay here for another week,” coach Sarina Wiegman said. “I think the team showed again some resilience and a lot of togetherness.”

Asked what Wiegman — the lone female head coach remaining from the original dozen — said in the post-game huddle, Russo answered: “Sarina said that she was proud. Lots to work on and we get rested and go again.”

Russo netted the winner in the 63rd minute, pouncing on a through ball from Georgia Stanway that bounced off a Colombia defender and into the path of the Arsenal forward, who fired low and hard into the bottom corner.

Santos scored against the run of play in the 44th minute, launching a curling ball that deflected off the leg of Rachel Daly and into the top corner of the 18-yard box, grazing Mary Earps’s fingertips and going into the far corner of the net.

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Trailing for the first time in the tournament, the Lionesses, who are undefeated in 37 of their last 38 games, kept their composure and when Colombian keeper Catalina Perez fumbled and lost the ball on Russo’s shot, Hemp was there to poke it in from six yards out just before the halftime whistle.

“This team is really special. Long may that continue,” Hemp said. “The atmosphere was incredible. The connection I have with Alessia is really strong. Bring on Australia. I am absolutely buzzing. I am over the moon and can’t wait.”

Lorena Bedoya Durango had an excellent chance at an equaliser with a long-range effort late in regulation time that Earps deflected over the crossbar.

Eighteen-year-old Linda Caicedo, who was one of the most exciting players at the World Cup, had a last chance deep in extra time but shook her head after firing the ball over the bar.

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

CAF Women’s Champions League Qualifiers draw holds on Wednesday

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The 2024-2025 women’s interclub football season will officially kick off on Wednesday, 24 July, with the draw for the CAF Women’s Champions League qualifiers in 4 zones: UNAF, UNIFFAC, WAFU B and CECAFA.

The draw will be conducted at 10:00 GMTat the CAF Headquarters in Egypt and live-streamed on CAF TV and CAFOnline.com. 

Below are the teams entered by zone and the dates of the qualifying tournaments:

WAFU B (10 – 23 August): Ainonvi FC (Benin), Hasaacas Ladies (Ghana), Inter d’Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), AO Étincelles OU USFA (Burkina Faso), AS Garde Nationale (Niger), Edo Queens (Nigeria), ASKO de Kara (Togo).

UNAF (21 – 31 August): CF Akbou (Algeria), Tutankhamun (Egypt), AS Far (Morocco), ASF Sousse (Tunisia)

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CECAFA (17 August – 4 September): PVP Buyenzi (Burundi), FAD (Djibouti), CBE FC (Ethiopia), Kenya Police Bullets (Kenya), Kawempe Muslim (Uganda), Rayon Sports (Rwanda), Yei Joint Stars (South Sudan), Simba Queens (Tanzania), Warriors Queens (Zanzibar)

UNIFFAC (16 – 24 August): Lekié FF (Cameroon), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Atlético de Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), CSM Diables Noirs (Congo)

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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Colombia 2024: Danjuma invites 32 as countdown begins to Final Tournament

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Flying Eagles, Falconets To Resume Camp On Thursday -

With just eight weeks to their first match of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Colombia 2024, Head Coach Chris Musa Danjuma has called up four goalkeepers, eight defenders, eight midfielders and 12 strikers to a training camp in the Federal Capital, Abuja in the first phase of preparation for the global tournament.

Team captain Oluchi Ohaegbulem is top of the list, with first-choice goalkeeper Faith Omilana, defenders Shukurat Oladipo and Comfort Folorunsho, midfielders Chinyere Kalu, Adoo Yina and Rofiat Imuran, and forwards Janet Akekoromowei, Flourish Sabastine and Aminat Bello also called.

Nigeria, a fixture at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals since the tournament began as an U19 event in Canada 22 years ago, will contend with three-time winners Germany, Asian powerhouse Korea Republic and South American representatives Venezuela in group D of the competition scheduled for three Colombian cities, 31st August – 22nd September.

All the invited are expected at Serob Legacy Hotel, Wuye, Abuja on Sunday, 7th July.

ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:

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Goalkeepers: Anderline Mgbechi (Delta Queens); Rachael Unachukwu (Nasarawa Amazons); Faith Omilana (Naija Ratels); Shukura Bakare (Nasarawa Amazons)

Defenders: Oluchi Ohaegbulem (Nasarawa Amazons); Jumoke Alani (Nasarawa Amazons); Shukurat Oladipo (FC Robo Queens); Oluwabunmi Oladeji (Naija Ratels); Folashade Adegbemile (Delta Queens); Chidera Okenwa (Delta Queens); Comfort Folorunsho (Edo Queens); Taiwo Lawal

Midfielders: Adoo Yina (Nasarawa Amazons); Olushola Shobowale (Nasarawa Amazons); Aminat Folorunsho (Rivers Angels); Chioma Olise (Edo Queens); Chinyere Kalu (Nasarawa Amazons); Joy Igbokwe (Naija Ratels); Rofiat Imuran (Stade de Reims, France); Zikora Agama (Naija Ratels)

Forwards: Delight Nwosu (Dannaz Ladies); Adaobi Okah (Remo Stars Ladies); Chiamaka Okwuchukwu (Rivers Angels); Chinaza Agoh (Delta Queens); Mary Nkpa (Heartland Queens); Chiamaka Osigwe (Edo Queens); Janet Akekoromowei (Asisat Academy); Mary Offor (Adamawa Queens); Flourish Sabastine (Stade de Reims, France); Sharon Ulumma (Heartland Queens); Aminat Bello (Otero College, USA); Reilly Adebowale (Bohemian FC, Republic of Ireland)   

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Nigeria’s Flamingos drawn against debuting hosts in FIFA U-17 World Cup

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The Flamingos, Nigeria’s U-17 women’s football team have been drawn against hosts, Dominican Republic for the finals of the Women’s U-17 World Cup holding from 16 October to 3 November in two host cities of Santo Domingo  and Santiago de los Caballeros.

 Both Nigeria and Dominican Republic are drawn in Group A along with Ecuador and New Zealand.  In Group B are Spain, USA, Korea Republic and Colombia.

Group C has  Korea DPR, Mexico, Kenya and England while those competing in Group D are  Japan , Poland, Brazil and Zambia.

The hosts will make their debut in the competition on 16 October against Ecuador in Santiago de los Caballeros, with New Zealand and Nigeria completing Group A.

Herrera, the first Dominican woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, had a special message for her compatriots taking part in the World Cup. She said: “I am the living example that you can achieve your dreams. So, keep up the good work. I am looking forward to seeing those amazing games.”

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Reigning champions Spain, meanwhile, will kick off their campaign in Group B, in which they will face USA, Korea Republic and Colombia, runners-up last time around.

“The advice to all the players that will participate here is to be confident and go live your dream. ¡Y Buena suerte!” said Flores, who took part in this tournament two years ago in India.

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