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Finland 2 (Sjolund 65, Sallstrom 82)
England 3 (Aluko 13,66, Williams 49)
A fantastic individual goal from Eniola Aluko was the difference between the sides as England overcame a physical Finland side to reach the semi finals of the Euro 2009 Finals.
Despite losing captain Faye White to injury during the match, the England defence stood up superbly to a long ball bombardment from the host nation and were always in control of the match following the early stages.
Now only surprise package Holland stand between England and a first appearance in the Final since 1984. Vera Pauw's side booked their place in the last four by beating France on a penalty shootout following a largely uneventful goalless draw.
Hope Powell was boosted by the return of Anita Asante in the centre of defence but Alex Scott was ruled out with a groin injury which meant that Lindsay Johnson moved across to the right back position.
England produced the first attempt on goal, Sue Smith lifting her shot just over from the edge of the area, but Finland settled down and started to carry the game to their opponents.
Laura Kalimari drove a shot just wide from 20 yards but there were not too many scares for the England defence and they were to profit by taking the first open chance of the match.
Sue Smith chased down a weak backpass which Tinja-Riikka Korpela just managed to clear but England quickly picked up possession again and Fara Williams slipped the ball through to Aluko who confidently tucked her shot home through the keeper's legs.
The goal visibly lifted England's confidence and Karen Carney did well to cut in from the right to unleash a left foot shot which flew straight at Korpela. Williams flashed a shot across the face of goal following good work down the left by Aluko.
Finland continued their aerial bombardment of the England defence and White was on the receiving end of a clash of heads with Sanna Talonen. The England captain looked dazed as she left the pitch and England were forced into a substitution, Jill Scott coming on with Katie Chapman reverting to the centre of defence.
Jessica Julin headed wide from a corner and Anne Makinen scooped a shot over the bar but England stood strong to take their 1-0 lead into the half time interval.
Finland picked up the pace from the restart and another long ball was flicked on by Sallstrom for Talonen whose shot was deflected wide by Asante. England hit back and good work from Jill Scott saw her win the ball from Petra Vaelma before being pulled down and, from the resulting free kick, Sue Smith's centre was met at the far post by Chapman, Korpela parried her shot but Williams was on hand to poke the ball home from close range to make it 2-0.
Kelly Smith slid a low ball from Aluko just past the post and the England striker also sent a dipping 30-yard shot inches over the bar.
However Finland grabbed themselves a lifeline in the 65th minute as an inswinging corner was headed goalwards by Sallstrom, Sue Smith blocked on the line but Annica Sjolund was on hand to ram the ball home from point blank range.
England's response was immediate and spectacular. From the resulting kick off, the ball was played to Aluko who sped goalwards, taking herself past three opponents before burying an unstoppable shot past Korpela to restore the two-goal advantage.
Finland did not give up though and continued to press. England stood up to the barrage but another setpiece led to their undoing. Saari swung in another corner from which Sjolund got up above Brown and Sallstrom reacted quickest to nod the loose ball home.
Another long ball led to another Finnish opening, Sallstrom nodded down for Kalmari whose shot was turned over the bar by Brown.
As the game went into the last five minutes, another corner from the right by Saari caused anxious moments, Sjolund won the header which was blocked on the line by Sue Smith, a huge scramble ensued before England breathed a sigh of relief as Brown emerged with the ball in her grasp.
Kalmari fired an angled shot straight at Brown as the tension rose and, as the game moved towards injury time, England kept looking to take the ball into the corners to run down the clock.
There was more anxiety in the last few moments as England needed to defend a couple of corners, Korpela even coming up for one herself, but they saw the game out with great elation and
relief at the final whistle.
Finland: Tinja-Riikka Korpela, Petra Vaelma, Jessica Julin (sub Anna Westerlund 72mins), Maija Saari, Essi Sainio (sub Annica Sjolund 52mins), Tiina Salmen, Anne Makinen, Sanna Talonen (sub Susanna Lehtinen 75mins), Laura Kalmari, Tuija Hyyrynen, Linda Sallstrom.
England: Rachel Brown, Lindsay Johnson (sub Laura Bassett 68mins), Casey Stoney, Fara Williams, Faye White (sub Jill Scott 40mins), Anita Asante, Karen Carney, Katie Chapman, Eniola Aluko, Kelly Smith, Sue Smith.
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