CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in VANCOUVER: England made history on Saturday in Vancouver as they beat hosts Canada 2-1 to reach the semi-finals of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

In front of a 54,027 strong crowd at BC Place – a record for any Canadian national team – two first half goals from Jodie Taylor and Lucy Bronze were enough to see England through to their first ever semi-final, despite a responding goal from Christine Sinclair.

England took the lead after just 12 minutes. Lauren Sesselmann was caught in possession by Jodie Taylor who surged forward and sent a powerful low finish past Erin McLeod from just outside the box.

Barely two minutes later and it was 2-0. A Fara Williams free-kick came to second round match-winner Lucy Bronze at the far-post who lost her marker and headed the ball in off the bar.

BC Place was subdued but the atmosphere erupted shortly before half-time. Canada’s Ashley Lawrence crossed in from the left and England goalkeeper spilled the ball into the path of captain Christine Sinclair who poked the ball in.

That ensured the hosts went in at the break only one goal down and with momentum on their side.

Defiant defending

England lost Bardsley shortly into the second half with a bruised eye, Siobhan Chamberlain replacing her and making her first appearance at this World Cup.

For the rest of the second half, England largely played with their backs to the wall though Taylor did come close with a curling shot that Erin McLeod excellently tipped wide.

Adriana Leon came on for the hosts and caused the opposition some concern with her surging runs.

But as the clocked ticked down, England’s defence held strong from some hopeful Canadian attacks and the score remained 2-1 to break the hearts of the home fans. .

Mark Sampson’s side go on to meet holders Japan in the semi-final on Wednesday.