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2023 Women's World Cup

For Australia, England, the soccer rivalry is contrived but the stakes couldn’t be higher

As the public hypes a feud between nations largely based on other sports ahead of the World Cup semifinal, the Matildas and Lionesses point out that they have little history with each other

Keith McInnes/SPP

Reporting from Stadium Australia in Sydney.

Inside the large but crammed media center at Stadium Australia in Sydney, England head coach Sarina Wiegman is staring wide-eyed with a smile. 

Her eyebrows are raised, in content astonishment, as if they might slowly launch beyond her forehead and end up in Woolloomooloo.

Lost for words, Wiegman pauses for another second.

She makes what only can be described as a “pffftftt” sound. A shrug. And then, the gathered press core begins to laugh. The Dutchwoman points at the giddy media members and lets out a small chuckle of her own.

Finally, without answering the question, she states: “We’re basically focused on football and the game tomorrow. Let’s do everything to win the game tomorrow.”

The scene was a result of a question – one of many – regarding non-soccer matters, just over 24 hours before Wednesday’s 2023 World Cup semifinal against co-host Australia.

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