England Women have rocketed to fourth place in the FIFA rankings after winning Euro 2022 – but they still trail Sweden and Germany, two of the teams they beat on the way to glory.

The list continues to be headed by World Cup winners the United States, who are due to face England in an October friendly at Wembley.

Germany climb above Sweden to take over second place after reaching the European final, but the Swedes hold a narrow lead over England.

That is despite England thrashing Sweden 4-0 in the semi-finals of the Women's Euros, before going on to beat Germany 2-1 after extra time in the final.

England were eighth in the rankings prior to winning the European title for the first time but have vaulted above France, the Netherlands, Canada and Spain.

Sarina Wiegman, who led the Netherlands to Euro 2017 glory, repeated the feat this year as manager of England and is set to be offered an improved contract by the Football Association ahead of the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Brazil remain ninth after winning the Copa America Femenina, beating Colombia in the final, while Women's Africa Cup of Nations champions South Africa nudged up four places to 54th on the list.

England star Lucy Bronze has revealed she is playing through pain caused by a knee injury in order to help the Lionesses' bid a first major tournament victory, having netted in a 4-0 semi-final rout of Sweden.

Bronze's header put England two goals up against the Swedes at Bramall Lane, after which Alessia Russo's incredible backheel and Fran Kirby's long-range strike helped the hosts record the biggest ever victory in a Women's Euro semi-final.

Tournament hosts England, beaten European Championship finalists in both 1984 and 2009, will now take part in the showpiece final at Wembley on Sunday.

And Bronze, who scooped FIFA's The Best Women's Player award in 2020, is blocking out the pain in an attempt to help her country to glory, as she played down her last-four goalscoring feat.

"I've just got to play through it," Bronze said. "There are plenty of players who are having to play through pain in their career and I'm now one of them.

"I don't feel like I did a couple of years ago. The Lucy Bronze of a couple of years ago was 'the best player in the world'. 

"It's been difficult to come back from a knee injury which has lingered for a very long time and still is now."

Bronze added: "The goals and assists are not something I consider a major part of my game. I'd much rather the likes of Beth and Ellen [White] and Hempo [Lauren Hemp] get on the scoresheet. I enjoyed it, though. I'd not scored in a Euros.

"I'm still happy to be contributing to the team, still playing good football, obviously getting an assist for Beth [Mead] and getting her up there to get the Golden Boot. It would be nice to be part of her little individual journey."

England ended a run of three successive major semi-final defeats with their resounding win in Sheffield, having fallen in the final four at the 2017 Euros and the 2015 and 2019 World Cups.

And Bronze believes those painful experiences made Tuesday's win even sweeter, adding: "For players like myself and Ellen and Fran, who've experienced a lot of semi-final defeats, it's nice to get over those defeats, get over the line and finally get ourselves in the final. But it’s certainly not job done."

Meanwhile, England boss Sarina Wiegman has come in for praise after leading the side through an unprecedented 11-match winning streak, the Lionesses scoring 104 goals in her 19 games at the helm.

Bronze believes Wiegman's ability to keep the squad grounded has been a major factor in their terrific run on home soil, adding: "It's just practical information she's giving. I think that being Dutch, she's to the point. She tries not to get carried away. 

"It's quite funny that pretty much everyone in the whole of Holland said they've never seen Sarina Wiegman jump around like she did after the Spain game!

"I think she said herself that the Spanish performance was one of the best she'd ever seen – to come through that was amazing not just for the team but for her as a manager and coach.

"In a home Euros there's a lot of emotion and a lot of support. We don't want to get carried away too much and she's one of those people that is very process-driven. 

"She's very excited, but once the game's done we're on to the next game. We don't get carried away with our emotions but on and off the field we still enjoy the game and still enjoy the moment at the right time."

Sweden's Magdalena Eriksson has bemoaned her side's early missed chances after they were thumped 4-0 by England in their women's Euros semi-final.

Sofia Jakobsson could have put the Swedes ahead after just 30 seconds, while Stina Blackstenius also hit the bar early on.

And they then fell behind after 34 minutes when Beth Mead smashed home from inside the box, before second-half goals from Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo and Fran Kirby finished things off.

It means that it will be England who will play either Germany or France at Wembley Stadium on Sunday as they bid to win their first European Championship, after losing in the final in 1984 and 2009.

Chelsea defender Magdalena Eriksson was frustrated after the game, telling reporters: "I'm very disappointed of course, there's a lot of emotions at the moment.

"An extreme disappointment, it's a tough one to take because we started the game extremely well. We could have been one or two nil up after 20 minutes.

"When you don't score, you don't take your chances, when you don't score when you have momentum, it's tough.

"The timings of their first two goals are really crucial. It just became too much of a challenge when it was 2-0."

Sarina Wiegman is determined for England to make their dreams come true after they reached the final of the Women's Euros with a 4-0 win over Sweden on Tuesday. 

The Lionesses put a run of three straight semi-final defeats at major tournaments behind them to reach a showpiece match for the first time since 2009. 

England are now unbeaten in 19 matches since Wiegman took charge and head into Sunday's final against Germany or France on an 11-game winning streak. 

Stina Blackstenius hit the bar early on for Sweden but Beth Mead put England in front in the 34th minute and Lucy Bronze doubled their lead shortly after the restart. 

Alessia Russo's brilliant backheel put the Lionesses out of reach and Fran Kirby capped a magnificent team display by chipping Hedvig Lindahl in the 76th minute. 

"The second half we did really well. I thought in the first half we struggled a little bit. The second half we had total control of the game and got some more space," Wiegman, who became the first coach to lead two different nations to a Women's Euros final, told the BBC. 

"We'll celebrate now a little bit. But as I said before the tournament, we have a dream. We've come very far, but now we want to take it away. 

"In the second half we played so much better. I think it was such a good performance that everyone will talk about it. 

"I think we have shown a couple of times that we're very resilient. I thought we didn't start well so we had a hard time. But the players found a way in the game to get out of their pressure, and I'm so, so incredibly proud of them." 

Mead's goal was her sixth of the competition – the most an England player has managed in a single edition of the Euros – and moved her one shy of the record tally set by Inka Grings in the 2009 tournament. 

The Arsenal forward also set up Bronze and Kirby, taking her total goal involvements at Euro 2022 to 10. 

"At the full-time whistle we didn't really know what to do! We’re ecstatic to be in the final," said Mead. 

"I enjoyed my goal – I think it came at a good time, as they’d had chances and there was pressure on us. I'm happy to help the team again." 

Alessia Russo's stunning backheel goal helped England to a brilliant 4-0 win over Sweden at Euro 2022, ending their wait for a semi-final success. 

The Lionesses weathered a strong start from Sweden that saw Stina Blackstenius rattle the crossbar and they took the lead when Beth Mead drilled home in the 34th minute. 

Lucy Bronze doubled England's lead three minutes after the restart and a moment of magic from substitute Russo put England out of reach in the 68th minute.

Fran Kirby audaciously chipped Hedvig Lindahl with 14 minutes remaining, as England ended a run of three straight semi-final defeats at major tournaments and booked their place in Sunday's showpiece at Wembley.

England needed Mary Earps to keep Sofia Jakobsson at bay after just 20 seconds, with Sweden's bright start seeing Blackstenius hit the bar with a header from a corner in the ninth minute. 

The game soon settled down but England controlled possession and they were rewarded when Mead controlled Bronze's cross expertly and fired a fine finish beyond Lindahl. 

Bronze placed a header from Mead's delivery into the bottom-left corner as the Lionesses made a phenomenal start to the second half, with the bar stopping Lauren Hemp from making it three before the hour mark. 

Earps did brilliantly to keep Blackstenius at bay as Sweden looked for a way back into the game but Russo backheeled a shot through Lindahl's legs to sap Sweden's resolve.

Kirby completed the scoring when she spotted former Chelsea team-mate Lindahl off her line to round off a resounding win for the Lionesses at Bramall Lane.

David Beckham has wished Sarina Wiegman's "inspiring" England team good luck ahead of their Women's European Championship semi-final clash with Sweden on Tuesday, as the Lionesses look to end a run of major semi-final defeats.

Wiegman's side have produced several scintillating performances as tournament hosts, scoring a remarkable 14 goals as they cruised through a group containing Austria, Norway and Northern Ireland, before coming from behind to clinch a 2-1 quarter-final win over Spain.

Georgia Stanway's extra-time stunner against La Roja was the 100th goal England have scored in just 18 matches under Wiegman, while their current 10-game winning run is their best ever such streak.

However, England are likely to face a tough test when they meet Sweden in their Bramall Lane semi-final, having fallen at this stage in three consecutive major tournaments (the 2017 Euros and World Cups in 2015 and 2019).

Ahead of that vital contest, the Lionesses have been wished well by England legend Beckham, who thanked the team for inspiring his own daughter through their performances.

"I just wanted to send you a message, firstly, to say congratulations on an incredible tournament so far," Beckham said in a video posted to the team's Twitter account.

"It's been so uplifting, it's been so exciting, and it's been so inspiring. For me personally, I have a daughter, and for her to be inspired by you girls and your performances has been incredible.

"But it's not just the girls being inspired, the boys are getting inspired as well by this, we all know that when big tournaments come around, our country and our fans get behind us like no other.

"It's been incredible to see the performances but for me personally, the game against Spain was what really brought the nation together.

"To win a game like that, in that manner, has really uplifted the whole country.

"Good luck for the semi-final, we're all behind you, we're all excited to see it and I know there's one person that is really excited to see it; my daughter Harper. Thank you for inspiring her and good luck girls."

Should England extend their fine run with victory in Sheffield, a Wembley final against either Germany or France – and a shot at a first major tournament success in the women's game – will await on Sunday.

England must focus on the present if they are to end their semi-final hoodoo when they take on Sweden in the last four of the Women's Euros, says Sarina Wiegman. 

The Lionesses will contest their fourth straight semi-final at a major tournament at Bramall Lane on Tuesday, having reached the stage in successive World Cups either side of the 2017 European Championship. 

England have featured in five previous Euros semi-finals and only progressed from two of them, in 1984 and 2009. 

Wiegman, who is yet to taste defeat in 18 matches in charge of England, wants the team to forget their previous defeats as they look to close in on a first major trophy. 

"I think it is necessary to be in the now and I do think you always have to learn from your experiences and take out the things you can take out to be better, become better or to learn," said Wiegman in a pre-match news conference.

"But it's no use now to talk about that all the time because it's now. It is now. So why should we talk about that all the time? 

"We first have to play a semi-final and that's the only thing that counts. Again, we're in the now. All the focus is on our game against Sweden – that's the only thing we talk about. 

"How do we want to play? How do we collaborate as a team? How do we try to exploit their weaknesses, take out their strengths and use our own strengths? That's the only thing we're talking about. 

"I think reaching the semi-final has been really great already and we saw that we brought a lot of inspiration. 

"But I think our fans gave us a lot of inspiration too. We are only focused on tomorrow and that's what it is, and we hope we get the result we want. 

"The England team is ready to play the best game against Sweden, and hopefully we can inspire the nation." 

Millie Bright scored an own goal in the Euro 2017 semi-final loss to the Netherlands and was sent off as England fell to the United States in the last four of the 2019 World Cup. 

She said: "We are on a new journey. It's a new path for us as a group. Like I said, [we've got] different players in, so for us it's kind of a fresh slate almost and again we focus on the here and the now. 

"The position we are in as a squad going into this game is that we are in a very good position and we are ready to fight. Everyone is feeling great." 

Sweden's Kosovare Asllani has criticised the use of VAR at the Women's Euros and referred to the tournament's approach as "strange" ahead of her side's semi-final against England at Bramall Lane on Tuesday evening.

The criticism comes after Rebecka Blomqvist had a goal disallowed against Switzerland in her team's 2-1 group stage victory.

The Swedish football assocation contacted UEFA afterwards over the incident, and Asllani has personally been critical of the amount of VAR cameras that are being used in the competition.

The 32-year-old told reporters: "Well using 50 per cent fewer cameras in our tournament than in the men's game, that’s a catastrophe really because the decisions can’t be made with the same precision.

"It's not just for us, there are other teams. There are situations where you should have more cameras and it can be really decisive.

"I think it's strange because I like VAR, I think it’s fair when they have it, but if we have one game where they make a mistake, because they draw the line on the wrong side, and we heard they don’t have the same number of cameras, for me it’s not acceptable."

Manager Peter Gerhardsson also spoke on the matter, commenting: "There shouldn’t be a difference whether it’s women's or men's football.

"It’s not good enough that there are goals that are disallowed that way when VAR is incorrect.

"My feeling is, sometimes we put too much trust in VAR. We’re going to have to hope that they’ve looked at improving themselves for the semi-final tomorrow."

Despite missing training in recent days, it's understood that Milan forward Asllani will be available for the huge clash with hosts England, as both teams bid to reach the final at Wembley on Sunday evening.

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.

Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl believes the investment and improvement in the English game in recent years means her nation's good record against their Women's European Championship semi-final opponents will mean very little.

The Swedes needed a late Linda Sembrant goal against Belgium in their quarter-final to advance to play tournament hosts England, who edged past Spain 2-1 in the last eight thanks to an extra-time thunderbolt from Georgia Stanway.

The two teams will face off on Tuesday at Bramall Lane, Sheffield for a place in the final.

England have won just three of their 26 meetings with Sweden in all competitions (D8 L15), while they have only lost more often against Germany (21) than they have against the Swedes.

However, when asked if this impressive record gives them an advantage during the team's media day on Sunday, former Chelsea stopper Lindahl said: "No, because we all know the development that's been in the English league, and the investment that's gone into English football in the last seven years.

"I know it first hand because I came to Chelsea in 2015 and I've seen the game take off in England. Obviously that will have an effect on the national team, because the league has grown and people have to grow with it. So you can't really rely on history.

"But what I do take with me is that we know these are players we've beaten. We've managed to beat them before and we can do it again."

The 39-year-old has made eight saves across her team's four games so far, conceding just two goals, and is looking forward to returning to Sheffield, where Sweden played their first two games against the Netherlands and Switzerland.

"I had imagined coming into this tournament that we would face England at some point. I wasn't aware of when we were able to see each other," she said. "I thought it was going to be at Wembley, but now it's in Sheffield, and I think that's a good thing for us because we played a few games there. It's kind of like our home pitch, and so I look forward to it."

Lindahl is well aware of the dangers England pose, with tournament top scorer Beth Mead in the form of her life, scoring five goals in the Euros and having had a hand in 31 goals in all competitions under Sarina Wiegman so far (19 goals, 12 assists) in 18 games.

"I think we've all seen how much success they've had with their wingers, especially Beth Mead," Lindahl added.

"They have quality players in every position and two of them in every position. So I think we're gonna face a collective, well-organised team under the leadership of their new coach. So it's going to be a tough one."

Jubilant Sweden star Magdalena Eriksson is targeting the scalp of hosts England in the Euro 2022 semi-finals and admits it would be fun to "ruin their party".

Sweden, ranked second in the world by FIFA, have quietly come through the rounds to reach the last-four stage.

They beat Belgium 1-0 in Friday night's quarter-final at Leigh, with near-relentless pressure paying off in stoppage time when Linda Sembrant finally found the net.

Eriksson, who captains Chelsea in the Women's Super League, is set to face club-mates including Fran Kirby and Millie Bright in Tuesday's Bramall Lane semi-final clash.

England have reached the final four for a second consecutive Women's European Championship, and they lost 3-0 to the Netherlands last time.

This time the Lionesses are riding the wave of popular support in England, with a huge audience of 9.1million tuning in on television and online to watch the 2-1 quarter-final win over Spain.

Quoted in Swedish newspaper Expressen after Friday night's game, Eriksson said she was relishing the prospect of tackling Sarina Wiegman's team at the home of Sheffield United.

"It is incredibly special. I was happy when they progressed, it will be an incredibly cool challenge," Eriksson said.

"We want to do everything we can to ruin their party. They have done well and I know a lot of their players."

Match-winner Sembrant said it felt "absolutely magical" to get over the line against Belgium and tee up the England clash.

"It will be a hugely exciting match to meet them in England in a semi-final," Sembrant said. "It will be really cool. Now we have to recover and recharge."

Linda Sembrant's stoppage-time winner scraped a dramatic 1-0 win over Belgium that sent Sweden through to the Women's Euro 2022 semi-finals.

With Sweden's 33rd and final attempt of the match, Sembrant fired home to break the hearts of a Belgium side who were contesting their first knockout game in Women's European Championship history.

Peter Gerhardsson's side will now take on hosts England in the semi-finals in Sheffield on Tuesday.

Stina Blackstenius thought she had given Sweden the lead in the 25th minute, but her goal was ruled out for offside following a VAR review.

Belgium mustered just one attempt on goal in the first half and Sweden continued their domination after the interval, but Nicky Evrard's instinctive save kept Blackstenius' close-range header out in the 73rd minute.

The Scandinavian side finally found the breakthrough in the second added minute. Belgium failed to defend a corner and although Evrard saved Nathalie Bjorn's effort, Sembrant turned home on the follow-up.

England tackle Spain in a heavyweight quarter-final as the knockout stages of Euro 2022 get under way on Wednesday, with records already tumbling and data quirks around every corner.

The tournament has just passed its halfway stage in terms of the total number of games, with 16 of 31 having been played, and already more spectators have seen the finals in England than have attended any previous Women's Euros.

UEFA said 369,314 tickets were sold for group-stage games, with the soaring popularity of the women's game meaning the tournament attendance record of 240,055, set in the Netherlands five years ago, has been obliterated.

Sarina Wiegman's free-scoring England Lionesses have played an instrumental part in the tournament's success to date, with the host nation rallying around a team who scored a record 14 goals in the group stage, with Beth Mead's personal haul of five goals so far also a new all-time best for the group round.

Now the knockout stages await and the stakes are raised. Stats Perform, assisted by data from Opta, has looked at the tournament so far, plus each last-eight game, to see where the title might be won and lost.


The story so far

England have been the deadliest finishers, scoring 14 goals with a conversion rate of 24.6 per cent. Sweden sit next on that list, putting away 23.5 per cent of chances to net eight goals, five of which came in their final group game against Portugal.

France have scored all eight of their goals in the first half of their games, while England have hit nine before the interval and added five afterwards. The Netherlands have only scored twice prior to half-time in their games but have netted six second-half strikes, the most of all teams.

Switzerland exited after losing in painfully familiar fashion, with a second-half capitulation in going down 4-1 to the Dutch. The Swiss kept three first-half clean sheets in Group C but were pushovers after the interval, conceding eight times. In sharp contrast, all three of the goals Spain have shipped have come in the opening 45 minutes.

Spain have played the most passes overall, excluding crosses. Their total of 2,052 passes has come with an 86.0 per cent accuracy rate, while England have attempted the second highest number of passes (1,674) with a competition-leading 86.5 per cent precision.

The Spanish national team are famed for their possession-based, attractive football, teasing their way through defences with clever passes. Yet four of Spain's five goals have been headers, compared to three of 14 for England.

Mead sits top of the goal involvements list with seven (five goals, two assists), which puts her comfortably ahead of England team-mate Fran Kirby and Sweden's Kosovare Asllani, both of whom have scored once and set up three goals for a total of four involvements each.

Spain have the top five on the list of players with the most passes in the opposition half, led by defender Mapi Leon who has played 176 passes with a success rate of 90.3 per cent. For passes into the final third, Leon's accuracy dips to 83 per cent.


Best is still to come...

QUARTER-FINAL 1: Spain v England – July 20, Brighton

England have a record of played two, won two in previous Women's Euros quarter-finals, beating Finland 3-2 in 2009 and then edging France 1-0 five years ago in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Spain have lost both of their previous games at this stage, going down 3-1 to Norway in 2013 and suffering a penalty shoot-out defeat to Austria in 2017, following a goalless draw.

Four of England's starters from the 2017 win over France have played in every game so far at these finals: Lucy Bronze, Mille Bright, Kirby and Ellen White.

England have never lost on home soil against Spain (P7 W4 D3), with the teams battling out a 0-0 draw when they last met in February. However, Spain have beaten England three times before when taking all 15 previous encounters into account, losing six and drawing six.

Including a 20-0 win over Latvia last November, England have scored 98 goals in their 17 games under head coach Sarina Wiegman, scoring an average of 5.8 goals per game and only conceding three times.

Mead's haul of five goals so far matches Jodie Taylor's Lionesses record haul from the last Euros, which won her the Golden Boot. Spain have scored five goals in total during this tournament, with five different scorers.

QF2: Germany v Austria – July 21, Brentford

Germany are one of two teams, along with England, who have yet to concede a goal. That does not bode well for Austria, who are making their second appearance at this stage after beating Norway in the last round of group games.

The Austrians will start as big underdogs against the eight-time champions (winners once as West Germany, seven times as Germany), with Germany having won 15 of their most recent 16 games when going beyond the group stages. That had been a 15-game winning run until Denmark halted it in the 2017 quarter-finals, scoring a surprise 2-1 win.

Austria might need Barbara Dunst's luck to change if they are to stand any chance. Dunst has had 11 shots and created eight chances for Austria so far in this tournament, but she has yet to score or have an assist. She had the most direct involvements in shots (19) without scoring or assisting of all players in the group stage.

QF3: Sweden v Belgium – July 22, Leigh

Sweden are the highest-placed team on the FIFA ranking list, sitting second, behind the United States. They are quietly going about their business in England, and it would be a major surprise for them not to reach the semi-finals from this tie.

Including penalties, Sweden scored more goals from set-pieces than any other side in the group stage (5). Belgium might be concerned by that, given two of the three goals they have conceded came from dead-ball scenarios.

Of the eight quarter-finalists, Belgium scored the joint-fewest goals (3) in the group stage, had the fewest shots (21), the fewest shots on target (11) and the lowest expected goals total (2.6). The Red Flames surely need to find more of a spark for this big game.

QF4: France v Netherlands – July 23, Rotherham

France will be playing a fourth consecutive match in Rotherham, a town which is twinned with the French city of Saint-Quentin.

This is also a fourth consecutive Women's Euros quarter-final for France, who have lost each time at this stage, including a penalty shoot-out defeat to the Netherlands in 2009. They were beaten on spot-kicks by Denmark in 2013, and then slumped 1-0 to England in 2017. France have lost star striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto to an ACL knee injury, so memories of fast-flowing football in their opening 5-1 win over Italy are becoming distant.

Defending their title this time, the Netherlands have lost Euro 2017 player of the tournament Lieke Martens to injury and star goalscorer Vivianne Miedema has been sidelined of late after a COVID-19 positive test.

Yet the Dutch have progressed on each of the two occasions they have reached the quarter-finals previously, with the win over France in 2009 followed in 2017 by a 2-0 victory over Sweden.

The Netherlands must tackle France in the Euro 2022 quarter-finals after Sweden denied the defending champions top spot in Group C on Sunday.

Both teams won in their final group games, meaning they finished level on seven points and were separated by goal difference, having drawn when they faced each other earlier in the tournament.

Sweden thumped Portugal 5-0 while the Netherlands were 4-1 winners against Switzerland following a rush of late goals. Sweden finished with a plus-six goal difference, two better than the Netherlands achieved.

It means that five years on from triumphing on home soil, the Dutch must do it the hard way if they are to go deeper into this tournament, with France having caught the eye, particularly in their 5-1 rout of Italy.

France are certain to top Group D, while Sweden await the runner-up from that pool, with Italy, Iceland and Belgium all still in the hunt ahead of Monday's last round of matches.

Sweden, who sit second in the FIFA rankings, behind only the United States, showed why they should be taken seriously as contenders to win this tournament as they mauled Portugal in Leigh.

Filippa Angeldal scored twice for Sweden in the first half, and a Carole Costa own goal made it 3-0 at the break, before Kosovare Asllani's penalty and a late fifth from Stina Blackstenius completed the convincing victory. It matched Sweden's biggest victory at a European Championship.

Captain Asllani said: "We are feeling great. It was our goal to get through the group from the beginning. Today we had to win and we wanted to score as many goals as possible to win the game."

Quoted on UEFA's official website, she added: "We have a lot of respect for Portugal, they have developed a lot, but at the same time we just wanted to go all in and be as aggressive as possible in the last third."

The Netherlands were without star striker Vivianne Miedema for a second successive game after her COVID-19 positive test, but they still got the win against the Swiss at Bramall Lane.

It was a tight game until three late Dutch goals gave the scoreline a lopsided look. An own goal from Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic gave the Netherlands a 49th-minute lead, but Geraldine Reuteler levelled up four minutes later.

The teams remained locked until the 84th minute when Romee Leuchter netted the first of her late double, with Victoria Pelova also scoring in the dying moments.

The Netherlands and Sweden each survived scares as they secured first wins in Group C having drawn their Women's Euro 2022 opener.

The two pool favourites would have considered their meeting last week the toughest test of the first stage of the tournament, but Portugal and Switzerland were no pushovers on Wednesday.

Those two had played out their own entertaining draw, and Portugal repeated the two-goal comeback that rescued that point.

The Netherlands were coasting after a pair of headed goals through Damaris Egurrola and Stefanie van der Gragt, but the VAR spotted a foul on Diana Silva late in the first half that allowed Carole Costa to pull a goal back.

And Silva's header from Costa's cross had Portugal level, before the Oranje were again frustrated by a video review when Jill Roord's effort was struck off following a four-minute delay.

The defending European champions finally got their act together, though, and Danielle van de Donk arrowed into the top-right corner to earn a 3-2 Netherlands win.

It had been a similar story in the early game as Sweden beat Switzerland 2-1.

Sweden were the beneficiaries of a VAR review when Noelle Maritz went down easily and a penalty award was overturned, before Fridolina Rolfo steered the world's second-ranked side in front.

However, a fine Ramona Bachmann finish only 92 seconds later had Switzerland back on terms.

Teenage Sweden substitute Hanna Bennison restored the advantage with a 20-yard drive, yet her side were never in real comfort as they saw two late goals ruled out for offside.

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