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Sports

Women's World Cup quarter-final wins for Japan and England

Women's World Cup holders Japan have reached the semi-finals with a win over Australia. In the other quarter-final, England disappointed host crowds as they knocked out Canada.

Australia 0-1 Japan

(Iwabuchi 87')

Women's World Cup holders Japan continued the defense of their title as they held off Australia by a single goal at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Saturday.

Australia held out nearly until the end as Japan kept the ball for lengthy periods of the match, effectively preventing Australia from starting any attack. Shinobu Ohno had two good early chances but neither found the back of the net.

Japan continued the second half as they had started the match but as extra time loomed they started to increase the pressure.

The goal came in the 87th minute from a corner from the left that dropped into the Australian box. The Aussie team could not clear the ball, and Azusa Iwashimizu had her shot blocked and it fell to an unmarked Mana Iwabuchi for a tap in.

England 2-1 Canada

(Taylor 11', Bronze 14' - Sinclair 42')

In the second match of the day, two first-half goals secured the win for England against hosts Canada on Saturday evening in Vancouver.

England's Jodie Taylor and Lucy Bronze scored the goals which took England into the semi-finals for the first time.

A miskick and a slip by the Canadian defense allowed Taylor to sprint clear, sidestep a challenge and fire the ball into the net. Just minutes later, a free kick from Fara Williams found Allysha Chapman who headed in off the crossbar.

That meant the 54,027 crowd of mainly Canadian flag-waving supporters in BC Place Stadium found their team two goals down after just 14 minutes.

Canada's captain Christine Sinclair also scored in the first half, after Ashley Lawrence shot from the edge of the penalty area causing problems for keeper Karen Bardsley, and the ball fell into the path of Sinclair. She hit the ball home to reduce the deficit.

For Sinclair, Canada's all-time leading goal scorer, it was a 155th international goal.

In the second half, try as they might, Canada could not break down England's defenses. So the Lionesses go on to a semi final tie against holders Japan in Edmonton next Wednesday.

jm/bk (AFP, Reuters)