The big match

England vs. Sweden semi-final team news and predictions

Lionesses aim to ‘inspire the nation’ and reach the Uefa Women’s Euro final

Sarina Wiegman has urged her England players to “inspire the nation” by beating Sweden and reaching the final of the Uefa Women’s Euro 2022. Since taking over in September last year, the Lionesses are unbeaten in 18 games under their head coach, winning 16 of 18 matches and scoring 100 goals in the process. 

Wiegman, who coached her native Netherlands to Euro victory in 2017, is expecting a “very tight” and “difficult” semi-final against the Swedes, but said the England team is “ready to play their best game”. Praising the fans for bringing “lots of energy” in their previous games, she hopes the squad will “make them proud again”.

England reached the semi-finals with a 2-1 extra-time victory over Spain, while Sweden were 1-0 winners against Belgium. The winners of tonight’s clash at Bramall Lane in Sheffield will face Germany or France in the Uefa Women’s Euro final at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday.

Semi-final hoodoo 

England have “lost in the semi-finals at each of their last three major tournaments”, said Sky Sports. At Euro 2017 they were beaten by Wiegman’s Netherlands and they were also defeated at the last four stage at the 2019 and 2015 World Cups. 

When asked about the semi-final hoodoo, Wiegman said “it’s necessary to be in the now”. She added: “I do think you always have to learn from your experience and take out the things that you can take, to become better and learn. But it’s no use now to talk about that all the time, because it’s now, it is now. So why should we talk about that all the time?”

Chasing their first ever major trophy in the women’s game, England are now just “two wins away from immortality”, said Greg Lea on World Sports Network. The Lionesses must not “underestimate” their opponents though. This is a Swedish team “on the up” having reached the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup and the final of the Olympics in Japan last year. “They are now out to take the next step and pick up a piece of silverware.”

Sweden will have a ‘very good plan’ 

England are “considered favourites” to book their place at the Euro 2022 final, said Emma Sanders on the BBC. However, standing in their way is the highest-ranked team in the competition. 

In a word, England’s record against Sweden is “shocking”, said the BBC. The teams previously locked horns 26 times, but the Lionesses have won only three, with Sweden winning 15 and eight games ending in a draw. 

Sweden head coach Peter Gerhardsson is expecting an “interesting challenge”, and he and his staff will have to create a “good plan” against the host nation. “I can assure that we’re going to have a plan – and we need a good plan, we need a very good plan, and maybe we need an extremely, very good plan,” he said. “It’s a really good team. It’s going to be an interesting challenge. I think we are very difficult to beat.”

1

Kick-off time and UK TV coverage

Tonight’s semi-final at Bramall Lane kicks off at 8pm (BST). The match is live in the UK on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with coverage starting at 7.25pm. Presenter Gabby Logan is joined in the studio by analysts Alex Scott, Ian Wright and Anouk Hoogendijk. Match commentators are Robyn Cowen and Rachel Brown Finnis.

2

Team news and possible starting XIs

Wiegman will have all 23 players available for tonight’s match. Therefore “tactical decisions will dominate the coach’s thinking”, said Marc Mayo in the London Evening Standard. After coming on as a sub against Spain, Alex Greenwood is “tipped” to step in for Rachel Daly at left-back. Ella Toone and Alessia Russo are “also pushing to start”. 

Sweden will hope that Hanna Glas, Emma Kullberg and Jonna Andersson are available after the trio missed the quarter-final due to Covid-19, said Ben Sully on SportsMole. Veteran midfielder Caroline Seger has missed the past two games after battling a heel injury. 

England possible starting XI (3-5-2)
  • Mary Earps; Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright, Lotte Wubben-Moy; Lucy Bronze, Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway, Leah Williamson, Beth Mead; Ellen White, Lauren Hemp
Sweden possible starting XI (4-4-2)
  • Hedvig Lindahl; Nathalie Björn, Magdalena Eriksson, Linda Sembrant, Hanna Glas; Filippa Angeldal, Kosovare Asllani, Amanda Ilestedt, Hanna Bennison; Stina Blackstenius, Fridolina Rolfo

3

Pundit predictions 

England’s semi-final record at major tournaments is “dicey”, said Luke Baker in The Independent. But in Wiegman, “they have the ultimate tournament manager” and this is a side “bristling with confidence and self-belief”. The Lionesses “should be able to get the job done”. England 3-1 Sweden.

“Another nervy night could be on the cards” for the hosts, said Marc Mayo in the London Evening Standard. But Sweden’s high press “could play into the hands of a team capable of moving the ball quickly and being clinical in front of goal”. A 2-0 England win.

“If history is any indication”, Sweden should be able to emerge triumphant here, said Shubham Dupare on SportsKeeda. However, the current form is the “most important factor”, and there are “very few teams in better form than the Lionesses in women’s football at the moment”. The home support will “rally” behind the Lionesses, “who could win this one”. England 2-1 Sweden.

Sweden are a really good team on the counter-attack and are good at set-pieces, Arsenal’s Swedish manager Jonas Eidevall told the BBC. They would be the “two main concerns” playing against them. However, England are also “absolutely capable” of beating Sweden. “It’s a coin toss between them. It’s 50-50 which team is going to advance.”

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