Talented attacks meet mean defences in England v Sweden semi-final battle

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England face Sweden and Germany tackle France as Euro 2022 reaches the semi-final stage.

Here, the PA news agency looks to the data to preview Tuesday and Wednesday’s ties.

Sweden v England

Beth Mead, top, celebrates scoring against Northern Ireland
Beth Mead, top, is England’s and the tournament’s top scorer (John Walton/PA)

Two talented attacks go up against two of the tournament’s meanest defences in the opening game at Bramall Lane.

England are the tournament’s top scorers with 16 goals, as is Beth Mead on a personal level with five, but they will run up against a similarly tough test to their last game against Spain.

Sweden have allowed only 25 total shots – comfortably the fewest of the semi-finalists – despite their 27 tackles and 40 clearances each ranking second-lowest in the tournament. That may be explained by the fact they have allowed only 97 opposing attacks, according to UEFA’s official statistics.

They also have the defensive organisation to deal with England’s threat from the flanks. England’s 33 per cent cross accuracy is narrowly behind Spain for the best in the tournament – but Sweden have allowed only seven completed crosses out of 44, just under 16 per cent and the lowest rate other than England themselves.

Linda Sembrant, left, and Sweden celebrate their late winner against Belgium
Linda Sembrant, left, scored against Belgium and has been part of a solid Swedish defence (Tim Goode/PA)

Sweden’s nine goals at the other end – five of those, including an own goal and a penalty, in the group-clinching win over Portugal – trail behind England’s 16 but they have still carried a threat.

They have had the most attacks in the tournament, 214, while Stina Blackstenius leads all players with nine shots on target and is surely due to add to her solitary goal. Mead, by contrast, has scored with all five of her efforts on target.

Germany v France

France’s Delphine Cascarino shoots against the Netherlands
France have been happy to pull the trigger in their four games so far (Mike Egerton/PA)

If Tuesday’s game could be a tense affair, Wednesday looks set for a wide open clash in Milton Keynes.

While the two teams’ respective 193 and 187 attacks are just narrowly ahead of England’s 185, and trail Sweden and Spain, Germany have allowed 126 and Spain 120 – suggesting there may be space to exploit.

France will have to improve on their finishing – their nine goals have come from a tournament-high 93 attempts, with 40 of those off target. They have drawn 20 saves from opposing goalkeepers – including 10 from the Netherlands’ Daphne van Domselaar in their quarter-final – but face a German side who have allowed only five shots on target and have yet to concede.

Merle Frohms, right, snuffs out an Austrian attack in the quarter-final
Merle Frohms, right, is yet to be beaten at Euro 2022 (John Walton/PA)

Germany rank second in attempts with 82 and trail only England in goals on 11, while also having hit the woodwork on five occasions.

Further adding to the prospect of a stretched and frenetic game, France have covered more ground than any other team in the tournament – 462.7km – but have asked the same of their opponents, who have collectively run 481.4km.

France rank behind only Spain and England in share of possession and have three players – defenders Aissatou Tounkara, Griedge Mbock Bathy and Wendie Renard – in the top five for passing accuracy. They have drawn comfortably the most tackles, 71 with Sweden second on 58, and face a Germany side who have committed a tournament-high 46 fouls and collected six bookings.

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