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England V Sweden: Women’s Euro 2022 Semi-Final – Live!

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Have your say on Euro 2022

Peter Gerhardsson speaks

“It’s fantastic to play a semi-final again, in front of a crowd like this – we will enjoy it. Even if we’re not at home, we like to play in front of people, so it’s no problem for us.”

Sarina Wiegman speaks

“We’re prepared. We’ve talked about every part of the game. We want to [impose] our style of play but things can happen in the game – things can go well, things can be hard. We’ll try to stick with our plan, do our very best and stay together, and hopefully that brings us success.

“I wasn’t there [for the other semi-final defeats], that’s history. I think right now we’re in a very good place. Everyone is fit; everyone is playing her game and delivering on pitch and off the pitch. I just hope we play to our strengths.”

“For various reasons I have been unable to watch England’s march to the semis, and they’ve done quite well in my absence,” says Adam Griffiths. “My worry is that I’ll jinx them if I watch tonight, and I really want to watch, and we can’t be having that. What’s to be done?”

I think, and I say this with love, it’s time to reluctantly accept that your influence on this game is exactly the same as mine: the square root of bugger all.

Watching the match abroad (II)

“I’m not sure if this will help Emma Hartfield but I’ll be watching the game on,” writes Travis Giblin. “Not sure what the international rights are in Europe but that’s my answer from Canada.”

That which doesn’t kill your tournament dreams makes you stronger

“Hej from Sweden Rob,” says Julian Menz. “Watching with the in-laws, and I have received a thorough grilling from my seven-year-old daughter (born in Sweden) about who I support. It has been really amazing to see the level of coverage given to the tournament, and see her having role models she can relate to. Come On/Heja Svengland!”

It sounds like the tournament has already had a profound impact in England, so goodness knows how great the legacy will be if they win it.

Watching the match abroad

Can anyone help?

“Is there a link to watch or listen to the match for all those on their holidays please?” writes Emma Hartfield (near Malaga where it’s still 34 degrees at 8.15pm) . “We have four girls aged 4-13 (plus four excited adults) looking to cheer on the Lionesses. Thank you!”

In case you’ve been at a digital retreat in the Kerguelen Islands for the past week, here’s how England and Sweden reached the semi-finals.

The case for England

They’ve had an extra two days’ rest. Their comeback against Spain, after being outplayed for so long, will make them feel invincible. They are unbeaten in 18 games under Sarina Wiegman. Sarina Wiegman. They know a number of Swedish players from the WSL. It’s coming home! The case for Sweden

They’re second in the world rankings. They know how to win semi-finals (if not necessarily finals). Excluding penalty shootouts, they are unbeaten in 34 games. Their head-to-head record against England: 15 wins, three defeats. A number of their team know the England players from the WSL. It’s going home! David Squires in a genius, and his review of the quarter-finals is up to standard.

“Waiting for the Sheffield rain to stop (hopefully) before heading to the match,” says Chris Boyle. “How concerned are you by England’s schooling from Spain for most of the previous tie? Still disconcerted by the familiarity from so many men’s defeats (accepting, crucially, the Lionesses weren’t eliminated).”

Not massively, mainly because Spain are a unique team who can do that to anyone. And if you win a game like that, after struggling for so long, it must set up new pathways in the brain. England are a better team than they were a week ago.

I still think this game is 50/50, but the manner of England’s chasing last week doesn’t really bother me.

The teams in fullEngland (4-1-4-1) Earps; Bronze, Bright, Williamson, Daly; Walsh; Mead, Stanway, Kirby, Hemp; White.

Substitutes: Hampton, Roebuck, Greenwood, Carter, Stokes, Scott, Parris, Kelly, England, Toone, Wubben-Moy, Russo.

Sweden (4-2-3-1) Lindahl; Ilestedt, Sembrant, Eriksson, Glas; Angeldal, Bjorn; Jakobsson, Asllani, Rolfo; Blackstenius.

Substitutes: Falk, Musovic, Andersson, Nilden, Kullberg, Hurtig, Blomqvist, Seger, Rytting Kaneryd, Bennison.

Referee Esther Staubli (Switzerland).

Stina Blackstenius warms up with the help of one of the Swedish staff. Photograph: Rui Vieira/APTeam news: England unchangedAll that flapping of gums about Alex Greenwood and Ella Toone was a waste of time: Sarina Wiegman has named the same XI that has started every game in this tournament.

Sweden two changes from the side that beat Belgium on Friday. Sofia Jakobsson replaces Johanna Rytting Kaneryd on the right wing, and Hanna Glas, available after contracting Covid, is in for Amanda Nilden. The captain Caroline Seger and Jonna Andersson are fit enough for the bench.

England fans greet their team as their coach pulls into Bramall Lane. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/UEFA/Getty ImagesThis is an excellent profile of Sarina Wiegman, an extraordinary who, for much of the last month*, has seemed like the calmest person in England.

* If not for a couple of minutes straight after the Spain game.

Guide to the Sweden team

If you want to know more about the Swedish team, which is full of stars like Barcelona’s Frida Rolfo and Real Madrid’s Kosovare Asllani, this interactive guide is custom designed for your needs.

Or, if you prefer, you can read this dossier on how to stop Sweden – written by Sweden’s own match analyst. I’m not making this up.

It’s raining pretty heavily at Bramall Lane, though the forecast is better for kick-off. I have no idea what the moral of this story is.

May the best team win tonight. But most of all, may nobody be robbed by VAR.

Ellen White or Alessia Russo? It’s White for me. And, more importantly, for Anita Asante.

Early team news

Sarina Wiegman has picked the same XI throughout the tournament, but there is a growing feeling that she will make at least one change tonight. Alex Greenwood for Rachel Daly and/or Ella Toone for Fran Kirby are the obvious options. There is also a case for Alessia Russo ahead of Ellen White, though to my mind the current roles suit them both perfectly.

Sweden have had problems with injuries and Covid throughout the tournament. Hanna Glas and Emma Kullberg, who missed the tense quarter-final win over Belgium, are available again, while Caroline Seger should at least be among the substitutes. We don’t yet know whether Jonna Andersson will play – or whether their coach Peter Gerhardsson will go with 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-3.

Possible teams

England (4-1-4-1) Earps; Bronze, Bright, Williamson, Greenwood; Walsh; Mead, Stanway, Kirby, Hemp; White.

Sweden (4-2-3-1) Lindahl; Ilestedt, Sembrant, Eriksson, Glas; Angeldal, Bjorn; Kaneryd, Asllani, Rolfo; Blackstenius.

Louise Taylor’s big-match preview

PreambleHello and welcome to live coverage of – aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! – England v Sweden in the Euro 2022 semi-finals. Look, it doesn’t roll off the tongue, it wouldn’t look great on a movie poster and it might even be an oxymoron, but England are once again approaching the penultimate frontier. After three consecutive semi-final defeats, all involving different types and degrees of heartbreak, they have another chance to reach their first major final since 2009.

This time it’s in their home tournament, which means everything is heightened: hope, the fear, excitement, goodwill, pressure, expectation, giddiness. Some people are already looking ahead to Sunday’s final, and the chance of becoming the first England Women’s team to win a major tournament. But forget everything you’ve read about destiny, or Sweden’s performances, or Beth Mead’s flammability: this game is as near as dammit to 50/50.

Sweden are a fantastic side, second in the world rankings – and in last year’s Olympics, when they lost on penalties to Canada in the final. The last time England hosted the European Championship, back in 2005, they were knocked out in the group stages by, you betcha, Sweden.

The winners of tonight’s game will play France or Germany at Wembley on Sunday. The losers will spend their summer holiday trying to escape one of life’s most haunting questions: what if?

Kick off 8pm.

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