Women’s Euro 2022: final four have been confirmed
The Euro 2022 semi-finals lineup is set, and one thing is certain: the trophy is on its way to a new home after holders the Netherlands were eliminated.
Today (July 26th), hosts England will play Sweden at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, with Germany and France meeting the next day at Milton Keynes’ Stadium MK.
“The four semi-finalists are probably the most impressive four teams in the tournament,” former England international Fara Williams said.
Here is what to look out for.
England v Sweden
England enters their semi-final against Sweden with a lot of confidence after showing a different side of their game against Spain in the quarter-finals.
The Lionesses overcame Austria and Northern Ireland in the group stage, as expected, then smashed a severely disappointing Norway 8-0.
But against Spain they were on the ropes, 1-0 down and six minutes from elimination, before Sarina Wiegman’s tactical and personnel changes led to Ella Toone levelling and Georgie Stanway scoring a stunning winner in extra time.
Their depth and bench alternatives have been crucial in their quest to win their first big championship.
By contrast, Sweden – the top-ranked European team (second only behind the USA in the Fifa world rankings) did not impress in their 1-0 quarter-final win over Belgium.
They are bidding for their first trophy since the 1984 Euros – when they beat England on penalties after the game finished level after two legs.
“Sweden need to find a second gear if they are going to compete with England because England look much stronger – they will be confident,” Reading and former England striker Natasha Dowie said after the Belgium game.
Former England forward Kelly Smith said: “England are looking at this thinking ‘we can take this Sweden side’.”
Germany v France
Germany has won eight of the last twelve Women’s European Championships, however they are not among the favourites in this competition.
The Netherlands won the Euros five years ago, making this the first time Germany has not been defending champion since 1997.
However, their efforts and results in England have demonstrated that they have a strong chance of reclaiming their crown.
Germany, the only team yet to allow a goal, defeated Denmark, Spain, Finland, and Austria by an aggregate score of 11-0 in the quarter-finals.
They will face third-ranked France, who have never won a major title but have now broken their quarter-final drought.
Les Bleues had exited the previous five major competitions (World Cup, Euros, and Olympics) in the quarterfinals.
However, they will play in the last four for the first time since London 2012 after defeating reigning champions the Netherlands in extra time.
They had 33 chances, like Sweden, but only scored one. They were energetic in the first half, less so in the second, and excellent in extra time.
“France have to learn from this,” former international Laura Georges said on BBC One. “Every game they’ve started really well, but slowdown in the second half.
“Against Germany, they’ll need that impressive start but will have to continue it into the second half. They need to be more consistent.”