Australia's World Cup dream is over, after a heartbreaking loss to England in Sydney in Wednesday's semi-final.
The hosts marched to the last four after topping a group including Nigeria, Canada and, of course, the Republic of Ireland, before a dramatic quarter-final penalty shootout win over France set the scene for Wednesday's semi-final.
Our man on the ground Stephen Byrne captured the occasion at Stadium Australia, in association with Carlsberg 0.0, as the Aussies attempted to reach a first ever FIFA World Cup final.
Australia v England: Stephen Byrne reports from Down Under
Ahead of kick-off, our man in Australia Stephen Byrne caught up with fans of both the hosts and England, to get their thoughts on the upcoming game.
Sunday's final has been set after England defeated Australia in Sydney today🏆
Our man @StephenByrne was there to soak it all in!
| @CarlsbergIE 0.0 is an official partner of the Republic of Ireland Women's National Team #ad pic.twitter.com/dDb5VczVFT
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) August 16, 2023
Many Australian fans commented on the magnitude of the occasion, and the potential chance not only to reach a first ever World Cup final, but to do so on home soil. Of course, the opposition on hand added another flavour to the game, with the rivalry between the Aussies and the English spread across soccer, cricket, rugby, and beyond. One Australian fan told Stephen:
We've never had the slogan 'we're bringing it home' - because we've never needed to. The fact that, if we win or lose tonight, the girls have done us proud and we can still fight for 3rd or 4th...when you go back to four weeks ago when we dominated the Ashes, there's no reason we can't do that tonight.
England's fans were in confident mood, but the atmosphere in Sydney was set to be something special, with the 75,000 seater Stadium Australia packed to the rafters.
With England 1-0 up entering the final half-hour, Australia needed a moment of magic - and Stephen Byrne captured the celebrations of the Australian fans when Sam Kerr produced this moment of magic on 62 minutes.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) August 16, 2023
But, alas, it wasn't to be for the hosts, who ultimately came up short as England ran out 3-1 winners after a thrilling semi-final in Sydney.
England have now reached a first ever Women's World Cup final, and Sunday will mark the first World Cup final appearance for any English team since 1966.
Despite the result, the achievement of Australia in not only hosting their first ever World Cup, but pushing further into the tournament than they had ever previously progressed, is arguably as impressive.
One blot on the Australian copybook was the performance of some of their fans on Wednesday, with Stephen Byrne noting dozens of fans leaving with five minutes to go in the game, once it became apparent that England would be progressing to the final.
It's an awful train station but, seriously, give your team a lap of honour.
England face Spain in the World Cup final on Sunday, with kick-off at 11am Irish time. Australia will face Sweden in the third-place play-off on Saturday at 9am Irish time.