Australia vs England Odds, Pick, Prediction | World Cup Preview
Bradley Kanaris/Getty. Pictured: Australia women’s soccer players.
Australia vs England Odds
Spain booked the first spot in Sunday's Women's World Cup final with a dramatic 2-1 victory against Sweden in the waning moments of regulation. The second spot will be decided on Wednesday as the hos Australia take on the pre-tournament second favorite England.
The Aussies won a dramatic penalty shootout against France in the quarterfinal, a 10-round shootout that broke the record for longest in World Cup history. Australia will look to pull yet another modest upset in the semifinal on their home turf, while England continue to survive and advance despite not playing their best soccer in the knockout round.
The European champions needed penalties themselves to advance past Nigeria in the round of 16, and they then escaped a tricky contest with underdog Colombia to book the Lionesses spot in the semifinal. The English may have been the second-favorite behind the UnIted States entering the tournament, but Spain's elite form led to them being the small tournament favorite entering the semifinal round.
England will once again be without tournament top goal scorer Lauren James due to suspension and now the Australians are live to book a historic spot in the final.
Here is my preview for Australia vs England in the Women's World Cup.
The biggest question hanging over Australia is the ongoing health saga of star forward Sam Kerr. She missed the entire group stage with injury, played just 11 minutes in the Round of 16 and didn't have a big impact in her hour on the pitch against the French in the quarterfinals. She does get a few extra days to recover from the calf strain, but the Australians don't look nearly as potent in transition and direct attacks without Kerr close to 100%.
Most of the attack ran through the feet of youngster Mary Fowler, who showed some sharp moves to get into good scoring positions but really struggled to finish in front of goal. The Australians started this competition poorly with an unimpressive win against Ireland and a loss to Nigeria, but Tony Gustavsson's side has grown into the tournament and just went toe-to-toe with a top five team in the world in France.
The Australian defense has shown it is capable of defending without the ball against the French and then breaking with pace into transition to generate big scoring chances and opportunities. They'll likely follow a similar blueprint to the Colombians and Nigerians against England. Both sides were physical defending in their mid-block and then were able to consistently find wide outlets to exploit England's full backs and wide areas.
The Colombians lacked the final third quality on the day to create a ton of clear chances — 12 of their 15 shots came from outside the box — but Australia's underlying numbers through five matches are comparable overall to England's.
There were a few fluke goals in the match against Colombia — England conceded off of a deflected shot from outside the box and then equalized after the Colombian goalie dropped a routine ground ball. The overall profile from the match is that England's attack isn't at top form and really hasn't been for the entire tournament.
England scored one goal against Haiti, one against Denmark and created just 2.6 non-penalty xG in those matches. It seemed as though the Lionesses had sorted out their issues in a dominant 6-1 thrashing of China, but the knockout stage has looked more like those first two matches. The English were held under 1 xG in both matches, the expected threat numbers have largely overwhelmed and yet the market continues to price them like the team that won the Euros last summer.
The reality is that without Beth Mead, Leah Williamson, Fran Kirby and now James due to suspension, the Lionesses are not playing at the same level as the team that won Euro 2022 on home soil. They've still been very solid defensively and manager Sarina Wegiman has established herself as elite tactically in the women's game, but their ability to separate and get margin from lesser or comparable teams has been a glaring issue in this tournament.
Spain, Sweden and Australia have all put in dominant showings at some point against a quality side. The Spanish clearly outplayed the Netherlands, Sweden dominated the first hour against Japan and Australia had their 3-0 win against Canada. The English still don't have that level of performance and you can't expect them to just flip the switch now at the business end of the tournament.
Australia vs England
Pick & Prediction
England have posted a +0.97 xG difference per 90 in this tournament in five games. England and Australia have played two common opponents and the Aussies have played a solidly tougher group of opponents overall and yet the Aussies are right there at +0.77 per 90.
Anything the Australians can get from Kerr is just a bonus at this point, but even without her fully fit, they can attack England in wide areas and in transition. Remember that Australia were the team that ended England's 31-match unbeaten run prior to this tournament that included 20 clean sheets. England will have more of the possession like France did, but this is closer to a coin flip than the market suggests.
I'd bet Australia to advance at +120 or better.