England have reached the semi-finals of the Fifa Women's World Cup for the very first time with victory over Canada in Vancouver on 27 June.

Mark Sampson's side, who finished second in Group F before beating Norway in the last eight, built an unassailable lead inside just 14 minutes after Jodie Taylor ruthlessly punished a mistake from Lauren Sesselmann and Manchester City defender Lucy Bronze rose highest at the back post to loop Fara Williams' free-kick over Erin McLeod.

Canada reduced the arrears shortly before half-time when England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley parried Ashley Lawrence's cross into the path of Christine Sinclair to slot home from close range.

Although a capacity crowd at BC Place willed on the hosts to find an equaliser after the break, the Lionesses eventually held on for a famous win.

"I'm just so proud of the players, the staff," Sampson was quoted as saying by The Guardian after the full-time whistle. "To get a result in front of that atmosphere, that crowd and an excellent Canadian team is unbelievable, incredible.

"I'm proud of my team and of women's football, it was an incredible performance. It was a sell-out and I've never been in a crowd, an atmosphere like that. We had to dig deep. Canada took us to the limit. John Herdman and his team pushed us to the wire they made us fight for every ball, defend with our lives.

"This team has shown incredible character, resilience and togetherness. These players have shown a desire I've never seen from an England team before."

England face a tough test against Japan in the semi-final on 1 July after Mana Iwabuchi's late winner saw the holders defeat Australia in Edmonton.