England 2 - 1 Canada (half-time 2-1)

England's women footballers can look forward to a semi-final at the World Cup for the first time in their history, after shocking the home nation Canada 2-1 in their quarter-final tie. First-half goals from Jodie Taylor and Lucy Bronze ultimately proved to be enough to ensure a place in the last-four against reigning champions Japan.

Lively start by the hosts

Canada started the better of the two teams as they sought to avenge their defeat to the same side in the final of the Cyprus Cup. Christine Sinclair evaded would-be challengers down the right before spraying a wonderfully-weighted diagonal cross to Melissa Tancredi.

Bronze attempted to close her down but after cutting inside, Tancredi's strike was well off target.

Defensive slip allows Taylor in

The hosts paid for some slack defensive play when Lauren Sesselmann was caught in possession by Taylor on 11 minutes. Taylor was making her first start of the World Cup, following knee surgery just a couple of months before, but fully justified Mark Sampson's faith by coolly firing her shot into the corner of the net to put England ahead.

More joy for England

Better was to come three minutes later as England entered dreamland. A deep Fara Williams' cross from a free-kick found Bronze at the back post and she looped her header over the Canadian keeper to establish a two goal advantage for the visitors.

It was almost three nil soon afterwards, as another expertly delivered cross from Williams was met by the head of Katie Chapman. Sadly for her and the English fans the looping header struck the woodwork and rebounded to safety.

Goal back after fumble

Canada were still very much in the game and reduced the deficit before the break.

A cross from the left of the box from Ashley Lawrence was fumbled by keeper Karen Bardsley, allowing Sinclair to bundle the rebound over the line.

Sloppy Canadian defence

After the interval, more lackadaisical defending by the Canadians allowed Karen Carney to rob Sophie Schmidt in her own half. Carney fed the ball to the lively Taylor who curled a delightful shot towards the top corner, only for an acrobatic one-handed save from Erin McLeod to push the ball wide of the post.

Missed chance for Canada

There was to be one more good chance for the Canadians to rescue their World Cup with ten minutes to go. After patient play down the left, the eventual delivery into the box presented Schmidt with a golden opportunity to level the scores, but she fired wastefully wide of the target.

England breathed a huge sigh of relief as they held on for their well-deserved victory and that semi-final date with the Japanese. It left the majority of a bumper crowd of over 54,000 spectators disappointed, but England march on to bigger and perhaps better things. Can they yet emulate the men of 1966 and go all the way?