The trio of Everton Women stars left in the FIFA Women’s World Cup will have to make do with contesting third place after the semi-finals saw England and Spain book their slots in the last two.
A dominant Lionesses’ side - complete with Everton Academy graduate Alex Greenwood - saw off co-hosts Australia, and will now face La Roja following their 2-1 triumph over Peter Gerhardsson’s side in a fixture which will crown a brand new World Cup winning nation.
Nathalie Bjorn and Hanna Bennsion will take on Clare Wheeler this Saturday with the final scheduled for the following day.
Paralluelo pivotal to Spain success
Teenage sensation Salma Paralluelo showed she is unfazed by the big occasion as she once again came off the bench to score, this time her country’s opener in the 81st minute.
Rebecka Blomqvist levelled matters with the game slipping away but the delight was short lived as 93 seconds later as Spain skipper Olga Carmona’s shot went in off the bar following a corner.
Bjorn completed the full 90 minutes of a game that produced few chances, the Everton defender completing a good account of herself on the world stage.
Bennison could only watch the late drama unfold from the bench, whether the midfielder’s guile would have made a difference to the outcome is now a question that will forever be unanswered.
Lionesses in hunt for second trophy in as many years
Clare Wheeler last chance for game time will be Saturday’s third place playoff as the Matildas were eliminated by a history-chasing England team.
The European champions will be on the hunt for their second trophy in two years following last year’s triumph on home soil.
Ella Toone set the tone in the first half with a superb strike as Sarina Wiegman’s team dominated proceedings.
Australia rallied after the break as the talismanic Sam Kerr - starting her first game of the tournament - struck a 25-yard shot over the head of Mary Earps to level proceedings.
But this was the visitors day and the Lionesses, who also fielded ex-Blue Lucy Bronze, were not about to be denied.
Lauren Hemp pounced on a defensive mistake to restore the lead before turning provider with a delicious no-look pass to supply Alessio Russo, who made no mistake with the finish that gave England a two-goal cushion.
The very best of luck in the final, bring it home!