Women's Euros: England out to end to semi-final hoodoo against familiar foes Sweden

By Sports Desk July 25, 2022

England are looking to avoid losing a fourth consecutive major tournament semi-final when they take on familiar foes Sweden at Bramall Lane on Tuesday.

The Lionesses cruised through the group stage, scoring a record 14 goals in the process, before surviving a scare to overcome Spain 2-1 after extra time in the quarter-finals.

Reaching this stage is nothing new for England, having also made it to the final four of the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, either side of their run to the semis at Euro 2017.

However, they suffered defeat on all three of those occasions, going down to Japan, the United States and the Netherlands respectively.

Fran Kirby played in each of those losses and is extra motivated to go at least one step further this time around on home soil.

"I don't want to be another player that loses in another semi-final and doesn't get to a final of a major tournament with England," she said.

"We spoke about the semi-finals we have lost previously and it takes a long time to recover from losing a semi-final like that. 

"I don't want to experience having to take a month to get over not getting to a final. It would mean everything to reach a final with this England team."

Ahead of the showdown in Sheffield, Stats Perform picks out some of the key Opta facts.

SEMI-FINAL PEDIGREE

Not only are England competing in a third straight major semi-final, this will also be their sixth appearance at this stage of the Euros (also 1984, 1987, 1995, 2009 and 2017).

They have progressed from just two of the previous five, though, and were heavily beaten 3-0 by the Dutch five years ago.

Sweden are into their ninth semi-final in this competition. After advancing from three of the first four, they have since lost three of the past four, most recently in 2013.

WE MEET AGAIN

England and Sweden are meeting in the Women's Euros for a seventh time, making it the third most played fixture behind Germany against Norway and Germany versus Italy.

The Lionesses have won only one of those past six encounters, with that solitary victory coming in the second leg of the 1984 final, which they went on to lose on penalties.

History is not only on Sweden's side when these sides meet in this competition, but also in overall meetings with England down the years.

Indeed, only against Germany (21) have England lost more times against an opponent than they have Sweden (15), with those defeats coming across 29 matches.

FORM SIDES COLLIDE

That past is the past, though, and England find themselves in superb form. With their comeback win against Spain, they have won 10 matches in a row – their best-ever streak.

Georgia Stanway's extra-time winner in that game was the 100th goal scored under head coach Sarina Wiegman in 18 matches, meaning they have averaged 5.6 goals per game.

That makes for a tantalising contest in Sheffield as Sweden are the highest-placed contender on the FIFA rankings list, sitting second behind the United States.

Bidding for a first trophy since the 1984 Euros, Sweden are undefeated since March 2020 and a staggering 34 matches in total.

Something has to give in this latest clash between the heavyweights, however, with a showdown against either Germany or France awaiting in Sunday's final.

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