By Steve Keating
VANCOUVER (Reuters) - England scored twice in the opening half and then held on to reach the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup with a tense 2-1 win over Canada on Saturday.
England move onto Edmonton and a Wednesday meeting with defending champions Japan for a place in the final.
The schedule was setup for a potential Canada Day party on July 1 but the hosts could not secure an invitation as England gained revenge for a quarter-final loss to Canada at the 2012 London Olympics to reach the last four of a World Cup for the first time.
After conceding just one goal in four matches, Canada surrendered two in three minutes early in the opening half and fell into a hole out of which they could not climb.
England opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Canadian defender Lauren Sesselmann slipped on the ball, leaving Jodie Taylor a clear path to the goal. She made no mistake, whipping a low shot past a diving Erin McLeod.
Three minutes later Lucie Bronze sent a shudder through the capacity crowd when her soft looping header sailed over McLeod's outstretched hand, deflected off the crossbar and into the net.
Canada pulled one back just before the interval when England keeper Karen Bardsley could not handle Ashley Lawrence's shot and Christine Sinclair, Canada's all-time leading scorer, was there to pounce on the loose ball and drive it into the open net.
Canada pushed forward in the second half but could not unlock the England defense and test Siobhan Chamberlain, who substituted for Bardsley in the 49th minute after the starting keeper had problems with her eye.
(Editing by Andrew Both)