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Midfielder Keira Walsh says England not focused on spoiling World Cup party

Keira Walsh says England's World Cup semi-final is not about raining on Australia's parade.

Keira Walsh says England's World Cup semi-final is not about raining on Australia's parade. Photo: AAP

England midfielder Keira Walsh insists the Lionesses are not thinking about the Australian hearts they would break if they eliminate the World Cup co-hosts.

Australia reached the final four for the first time after beating France in a thrilling penalty shootout, while this will be England’s third crack at advancing to the final of the global showpiece – a feat it has yet to accomplish.

“Whatever game I play, I want to win,” Walsh said.

“It doesn’t matter who you are playing against. For us, I wouldn’t say we are thinking about spoiling the party.

“I think it is just another game and a massive game at that.

“We are just fully focused on trying to reach a World Cup final, regardless of who we are playing.

“I think obviously with the support from Australia it is going to be a little bit different for them in that sense.

“I think we have seen that the (England) girls are ready to fight.

“Obviously, when the whistle ends it is a different story, but I think in the game the girls are very aware of what the game is going to be like, what the stadium is going to be like.

“I think, for us, we are more than ready for it.”

Walsh, who in just over a year has secured both the Euro 2022 trophy with England and the Champions League title with Barcelona, said dampening the crowd’s mood with a goal or two could help the Lionesses take control of the narrative.

“(The crowd) was massive for us at the Euros, especially in the final,” she said.

“There are those moments where the opposition could score and it shifts momentum sometimes when you’re playing, it gives you an extra push when you know the crowd is behind you.

“But also when you can quieten the crowd it is a very nice feeling. I think for us trying to take the momentum out of the game is going to be important.

“There are positives and negatives for both. We have experienced both.”

Walsh missed England’s third group-stage encounter against China after sustaining a knee injury in the first half of their 1-0 victory over Denmark.

At the time it was feared the issue could be tournament-ending, like the anterior cruciate ligament injuries that prevented Euro 2022 captain Leah Williamson and Golden Boot winner Beth Mead from joining Sarina Wiegman’s World Cup squad.

It turned out not to be as serious as initially suspected, and the 26-year-old returned to play 120 minutes of England’s last-16 victory over Nigeria, which the Lionesses ultimately won 4-2 on penalties.

-PA
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