England women reach Euro 2022 final with stunning win over Sweden

However, it wasn’t all in England’s favor as Sarina Wiegman’s side faced serious first-half pressure from a world-class Swedish side.

But Lauren Hemp’s clever turn and finish after the half-hour calmed England’s obvious nerves and from there there was just one winner.

Lucy Bronze’s header from a corner kick early in the second half and then a superb backheel goal from substitute Alessia Russo delighted the 28,624 fans inside Bramall Lane, before Fran Kirby’s lob added from brilliance to an already remarkable score.

Sweden, after all, are currently ranked second in the world, with England previously only recording three wins over Sweden in their entire history.

In what has already been a record tournament in terms of attendance and viewing figures, Tuesday’s game set a new attendance record for a Euro semi-final.

After defeats in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup, Euro 2017, England will now play in the final against Germany or France at Wembley Stadium on July 31.

“I think they’ve shown over and over that they’re very resilient,” Wiegman told the BBC. “We didn’t start well, we struggled.

“We found a way. The players in the game found a way to get rid of their pressure. I’m incredibly proud of them.”

Slow starters

The nervousness that was evident for much of the quarter-final against Spain showed up again early on against Sweden.

England keeper Mary Earps was called into action in the first minute, blocking Sofia Jakobsson’s effort after Georgia Stanway was taken into possession in midfield.

Another smart save from Earps once again kept the scores level a few minutes later, this time catching Stina Blackstenius’ effort around the post. On the resulting corner, Sweden had their best chance yet as Blackstenius this time beat Earps to the ball, but his header could only find the crossbar.

While England looked to dominate the ball, Sweden posed a real threat on the counter. The attacking trio of Blackstenius, Kosovare Asllani and Fridolina Rolfo in particular gave England defenders nightmares, dragging them to and fro with their alternating runs.

On the half hour mark, England had barely registered a chance worth mentioning. In fact, the highlight of the first 30 minutes for the Lionesses was a superb sliding tackle from Kirby, who had retraced the length of the pitch to deny Sweden a clear scoring chance.

Fran Kirby put the icing on the cake with a late fourth goal.

England manager Wiegman has again named the same starting XI she had for the first four games of Euro 2022, unfazed by the somewhat toothless display for much of the quarter-final against Spain.

Wiegman needed all his tactics to turn the tide with substitutions, but his trusty top scorer Mead made sure that wouldn’t be necessary this time around.

With 10 minutes left in the first half, England found the breakthrough seemingly out of nowhere. After Lauren Hemp’s cross into the box missed Ellen White’s boot by an inch, Bronze did well to keep the ball in play and put it back into the penalty area.

Mead took a touch, pivoted and punched the ball into the far corner to send the Bramall Lane crowd into a frenzy. It was a stunning goal, possibly her best of the tournament so far, and put her in first place in the Golden Boot race with six goals.

He also equaled the most goals scored in a single European Championship, equaling Inka Grings of Finland 2009.

More importantly, however, it finally calmed England’s nerves and, for the first time in the match, Wiegman’s side began to dominate. Chances came for Kirby and Stanway, but neither could test Rut Hedvig Lindahl in the Swedish goal from distance.

At the half-time whistle, it was Sweden who were relieved to hear it and England were only 45 minutes from the final.

Mary Earps kept England level with some brilliant early saves.

relentless lionesses

The second half started in the same way and England immediately found themselves on the backs of their opponents again.

It was Hemp again on the left causing Sweden all sorts of problems and the Manchester City winger’s cross into Mead was blocked by a Swedish boot. However, a resulting imposing Lucy Bronze header from the corner snuck past the far post and gave England full control of this semi-final.

Russo has been England’s supersub in this tournament, scoring three goals off the bench so far. When brought on before the hour mark against Sweden, her impact was immediate as a driving run and low cross found Hemp at the far post.

But the gaping goal, the winger could only deflect an effort on the crossbar.

Sweden had a wonderful chance to reduce the deficit, but Earps’ fingertip save deprived Blackstenius of a goal.

Alessia Russo's marvelous improvisation made it 3-0 against England.

However, with just over 20 minutes to go, the match was ended like a contest by a moment of genius from Russo. After her initial effort – which she should have scored – was blocked by Lindahl, Russo improvised with a cheeky backheel that caught the Swedish keeper completely off guard as she weaved between her legs.

It was a piece of magic that summed up the best of this England team as they began to dismantle one of the best teams in the world.

Kirby quickly added the icing on the cake with just over 15 minutes left, tossing the ball at Lindahl from distance. The Swedish keeper really should have done better, but let the ball squirm in her hands, capping off a night she’ll want to forget in a hurry.

The win perpetuates Wiegman’s remarkable personal record of never losing a match at the Euros. Everyone in England is hoping this run will continue for just one more game.

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