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Canada 1 (Sinclair 41) England 2 (Taylor 11, Bronze 14)
England's exciting World Cup run has now taken them to the semi finals after eliminating hosts Canada in front of a partisan crowd in Vancouver.
The win was no more than England deserved after never really looking like conceding during a composed second half performance and the result was a lot more comfortable than their fourth successive 2-1 victory suggests, with Lucy Bronze the unlikely goal hero once again.
Mark Sampson made two changes to his starting line up with Jodie Taylor making her first start up front following injury, while Jill Scott also came in with Toni Duggan and Fran Kirby dropping down to the bench.
An open start to the game saw Karen Carney make a strong run down the left before Sophie Schmidt stepped in to intercept, Canada immediately broke and Christine Sinclair brilliantly tricked her way past two players before her crossfield pass picked out Melissa Tancredi who was left with only Karen Bardsley to beat but shot wastefully over the bar.
That miss was to look even more costly moments later as Lauren Sesselmann stumbled whilst in possession and Taylor showed great composure to take the ball away from Allysha Chapman before firing a shot into the far corner of the net.
Before Canada could recover from the shock, England moved two goals ahead. Fara Williams floated a free kick into the air for Lucy Bronze to run in and send a header over Erin McLeod and in off the underside of the bar, Jill Scott making sure.
Tancredi sent a free header over the bar and Sinclair curled a shot wide as Canada tried to drag themselves back into the game but the host side were a bag of nerves at the back and it was nearly three, another Williams free kick being met by Katie Chapman whose looping header came back off the bar.
However just as England were looking comfortable, a clanger let the home side back into the game. After initial good work on the edge of the area by Sinclair, she fed Ashley Lawrence whose harmless looking cross was spilled by Bardsley, allowing Sinclair the simple task of slotting into the empty net.
England had the first effort on goal in the second half, Carney actually slipping as she took a shot which had McLeod scrambling as it dipped over. Moments later, Bardsley was forced to leave the field in distress with an eye injury and Siobhan Chamberlain was brought on to replace her.
Another defensive stumble almost cost Canada dear again, this time Carney stealing the ball off Wilkinson before finding Taylor whose curling shot was turned past the post by McLeod.
Sinclair lifted a free kick harmlessly over the bar from the edge of the area whilst Houghton brought out a save by McLeod from a similar range at the other end.
There was a scare for England when Adriana Leon made a powerful run into the area which took her past two players and she forced the ball past Chamberlain but Rafferty was well positioned to clear in front of goal. Leon clipped in a good cross after Lawrence had won the ball back in the area from the resulting throw in and Schmidt volleyed over the bar.
A long range effort from Belanger was comfortably dealt with by Chamberlain but although Canada huffed and puffed to try and force extra time, the England back four remained watertight and the substitute keeper was rarely extended at any stage.
Now reigning Champions Japan await in the semi finals and a test of patience for England. Memories of the Euro 2009 run to the Final have been rekindled - defeat in the first game and knocking out the hosts in the quarter finals - and the win guarantees they will stay there for the duration, regardless of the result on Wednesday.
Canada: Erin McLeod, Rhian Wilkinson (sub Diana Mathieson 61mins), Allysha Chapman, Kaleisha Buchanan, Lauren Sesselmann, Sophie Schmidt, Ashley Lawrence, Melissa Tancredi (sub Adriana Leon 71mins), Josee Belanger, Christine Sinclair, Desiree Scott (sub Kaylyn Kyle 76mins).
England: Karen Bardsley (sub Siobhan Chamberlain 50mins), Lucy Bronze, Claire Rafferty, Fara Williams (sub Ellen White 78mins), Steph Houghton, Laura Bassett, Jill Scott, Katie Chapman, Jodie Taylor, Karen Carney (sub Casey Stoney 90mins), Jade Moore.
Player of the match: Steph Houghton.
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