Sweden leave it late to book Euro 2022 semi-final with hosts England

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Sweden set up a Euro 2022 semi-final showdown with hosts England after scraping past Belgium with an unconvincing 1-0 victory secured by a dramatic late winner.

Linda Sembrant struck two minutes into added time at Leigh Sports Village as the tournament’s highest-ranked team eventually made their dominance count.

Extra-time looked a certainty after Peter Gerhardsson’s side, who had a first-half Stina Blackstenius goal ruled out for offside following a VAR review, squandered a host of chances.

The Swedes – Euros champions in 1984 – will next take on Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses on Tuesday evening at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, with a spot in the Wembley final at stake.

Swift Swedish recovery required following gruelling evening

Magdalena Eriksson, left, celebrates with team-mates at full-time, including match-winner Linda Sembrant, second right
Magdalena Eriksson, left, celebrates with team-mates at full-time, including match-winner Linda Sembrant, second right (Tim Goode/PA)

Sweden defender Magdalena Eriksson conceded a tense evening against the Belgians had been a severe mental challenge and revealed she was close to tears following the decisive goal.

The Chelsea player said her side must swiftly recover physically ahead of taking on England.

“It’s going to be an extremely tough game for us,” the 28-year-old told the BBC. “England have been amazing so far in the tournament.

“I know all the players they have, they are extremely talented players, so we’re going to have to be really on it. Now it’s about recovering, getting fresh again and then taking them on on Tuesday.”

Dutch star Gunner be ready?

The competition’s final quarter-final sees the Netherlands take on France on Saturday evening in Rotherham for the right to meet Germany in the last four.

Prolific Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema missed the reigning champions’ final two group games due to Covid-19 but could be back to spearhead their attack having resumed training.

Head coach Mark Parsons on Friday offered an upbeat update regarding the Arsenal star.

“I’m spreading as much positive energy and optimism as possible, but we have to see,” he said. “There is a chance she could be available because things are going well, but we need to tick these last few boxes.”

‘Underdogs’ France bidding to make history

France head coach Corinne Diacre, centre, is preparing to take on the Netherlands in Rotherham
France head coach Corinne Diacre, centre, is preparing to take on the Netherlands in Rotherham (Nick Potts/PA)

France have reached the quarter-final stage for the fourth successive Euros but they have never been further.

Les Bleues defeated the Dutch 3-1 in a friendly in February but head coach Corinne Diacre insists her side are underdogs as she bids to mastermind a small piece of history.

“The Netherlands are the holders and, if either of us are favourites, it should be them,” she said. “As everyone keeps telling us: we’ve never been past the quarter-finals so we can hardly be favourites.”

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July 23

Quarter-final: France v Netherlands (8pm, New York Stadium, Rotherham)

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