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England 4-0 Sweden: Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final – as it happened | Women’s Euro 2022

England will play France or Germany at Wembley on Sunday after hammering Sweden at a euphoric Bramall Lane. Sweden were the better team for half an hour, much the better team, but Beth Mead’s expert finish settled England down and they ran away with the game after half-time.

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Lucy Bronze headed the second, the substitute Alessia Russo scored an incredible backheel and Fran Kirby chipped the fourth. The semi-final hoodoo is over, and now England will play their first final since September 2009.

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I think it’s safe to say that England are going to Wembley.

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Alessia Russo has scored the most outrageous goal!

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Lucy Bronze makes it 2-0!

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An expert finish from Beth Mead has given England a precious lead in the semi-final. They started nervously, with Mary Earps making two good saves and Stina Blackstenius hitting the bar, but grew into the game and had their best spell after the goal. It was a terrific 45 minutes.

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Beth Mead blasts England into the lead!

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1 min Peep peep! Georgia Stanway passes the ball to Keira Walsh, and we’re away.

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England (4-1-4-1) Earps; Bronze, Bright, Williamson, Daly; Walsh; Mead, Stanway, Kirby, Hemp; White.
Substitutes: Hampton, Roebuck, Greenwood, Carter, Stokes, Scott, Parris, Kelly, England, Toone, Wubben-Moy, Russo.

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Sweden (4-2-3-1) Lindahl; Ilestedt, Sembrant, Eriksson, Glas; Angeldal, Bjorn; Jakobsson, Asllani, Rolfo; Blackstenius.
Substitutes: Falk, Musovic, Andersson, Nilden, Kullberg, Hurtig, Blomqvist, Seger, Rytting Kaneryd, Bennison.

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Referee Esther Staubli (Switzerland).

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teams in full”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Tue 26 Jul 2022 17.55 EDT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Tue 26 Jul 2022 13.00 EDT”},{“id”:”62e027ba8f08127940905d13″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

All that flapping of gums about Alex Greenwood and Ella Toone was a waste of time: Sarina Wiegman has named the same XI that has started every game in this tournament.

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Sweden two changes from the side that beat Belgium on Friday. Sofia Jakobsson replaces Johanna Rytting Kaneryd on the right wing, and Hanna Glas, available after contracting Covid, is in for Amanda Nilden. The captain Caroline Seger and Jonna Andersson are fit enough for the bench.

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Hello and welcome to live coverage of – aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! – England v Sweden in the Euro 2022 semi-finals. Look, it doesn’t roll off the tongue, it wouldn’t look great on a movie poster and it might even be an oxymoron, but England are once again approaching the penultimate frontier. After three consecutive semi-final defeats, all involving different types and degrees of heartbreak, they have another chance to reach their first major final since 2009.

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This time it’s in their home tournament, which means everything is heightened: hope, the fear, excitement, goodwill, pressure, expectation, giddiness. Some people are already looking ahead to Sunday’s final, and the chance of becoming the first England Women’s team to win a major tournament. But forget everything you’ve read about destiny, or Sweden’s performances, or Beth Mead’s flammability: this game is as near as dammit to 50/50.

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Sweden are a fantastic side, second in the world rankings – and in last year’s Olympics, when they lost on penalties to Canada in the final. The last time England hosted the European Championship, back in 2005, they were knocked out in the group stages by, you betcha, Sweden.

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The winners of tonight’s game will play France or Germany at Wembley on Sunday. The losers will spend their summer holiday trying to escape one of life’s most haunting questions: what if?

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Kick off 8pm.

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Key events

It’s time to wrap this blog up. Thanks for your company and emails on an unforgettable night at Bramall Lane. Please join us for tomorrow’s semi-final between France v Germany and then for the big one on Sunday. Goodnight!

And here are Sophie Downey’s player ratings

One more step on Sunday. 👊

Tonight, though, we celebrate! pic.twitter.com/qW2hFHIote

— Lionesses (@Lionesses) July 26, 2022

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After three semi-final defeats, England have finally made it to another end. Here’s Louise Taylor’s take on a famous night in Sheffield.

Thank you for saying this @IanWright0 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/n52NcuLMTL

— Project Football (@ProjectFootball) July 26, 2022

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“There are moments in life where I have been proud to be a woman but none seem more obvious than tonight,” writes Lottie. “Women’s football is often dismissed for being ‘boring’, ‘poor quality’ or ‘not as good as men’s football’. These ladies have proven all the critics, misogynists, and doubters wrong and shown that women are more than capable of making the game exciting and winning big.

“What Ian Wright said post-match about if girls aren’t allowed to play football after this, then what are we doing this for, has never been more true. I was a typical tomboy when I was younger but at school was given the option of Zumba as a girl whilst the boys played footie. There needs to be real change in the education system to allow women to play male-dominated sports and someone needs to be held accountable to make sure this happens.

“Now is the time to change. This team of women have shown what we are capable of if we have support and funding to create equity in sport. All the fingers crossed for a big win in the end!”

There’s not much I can add to that, and not only because I’m male. Regardless of what happens on Sunday, I’ll be amazed (and very confused) if this doesn’t go down as a landmark in women’s sport in England, never mind football. I don’t think it’s too trite to say that, in a sense, they’ve already won.

With such an emphatic scoreline, it’s easy to forget the importance of Mary Earps. She made two good saves early on and a brilliant one when the score was 2-0.

Let’s return to a happy theme. I could watch this goal for the rest of my natural born days.

Should Sarina Wiegman start Alessia Russo in the #Euro2022 final for England?

Thoughts? 🤔#WEURO2022 #BBCEuros #BBCFootball #Lionesses

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 26, 2022

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England’s last major final was in 2009, when they were hammered by Germany in Helsinki. I’ll be honest, on reflection I’m not sure why I’ve brought this up.

Here’s Suzanne Wrack’s match report from Bramall Lane.

The England players are doing a lap of honor, with the DJ going through all the favourites: Sweet Caroline, Don’t Stop Me Now, Seven Nation Army, Rockin’ All Over the World. Truly, they’re having the time of their lives.

England’s Rachel Daly (left) and Millie Bright celebrate their victory. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
England's Ellen White (left) and Ella Toone celebrate their victory.
As do Ellen White (left) and Ella Toone. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Sunday’s final kicks off at 5pm, so you can forget about watching Gino’s Italian Escape and Grow Your Own at Home with Alan Titchmarsh. Whoever they play will be a helluva test, but they can think about that in the morning. Tonight is for celebrating one of the most joyous nights in English football history.

Sarina Wiegman’s reaction

“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. It’s really loud here! We’re having a little party.

[Will you all be trolleying booze tonight?] No, no, of course not! We’ll celebrate now a little bit. But as we said before this tournament, we have a dream. We’ve come very far, and now we want to take it away.

“In the second half we played so well. It was such a good performance that I think everyone will talk about it. We’re very resilient. I thought we didn’t start well, so we had a hard time, but the players found a way within the game. I’m so, so incredibly proud of them.”

England manager Sarina Weigman celebrates with Mille Bright after their side's victory.
England manager Sarina Weigman celebrates with Mille Bright after their side’s victory. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Beth Mead’s reaction

“At the full-time whistle we didn’t really know what to do! We’re ecstatic to be in the end. 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. [Has it sunk in yet?] I’m really missing this song, I want to get involved!”

And with that, she’s off to sing Sweet Caroline with her teammates in front of an adoring crowd.

Beth Mead celebrates England's victory after the final whistle.
Beth Mead joins in with the singing. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Now the entire England party, backroom staff included, are bouncing around in a huddle. It’s a delightful scene, full of charm. Ellen White still ca n’t quite fathom it-when they all pull away she stands with both hands on her head in front of the England fans.

England goalkeeper Mary Earps celebrates their victory with Millie Bright.
England goalkeeper Mary Earps celebrates their victory with Millie Bright. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
England's Ellen White celebrates the victory after the the Women's Euro 2022 semi-final between England and Sweden at Bramall Lane on 26 July 2022 at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England.  (Photo by Tom Jenkins)
Ellen White savors England’s victory. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Yes, it really, really, really did happen

WHAT. A. PERFORMANCE.

WE ARE HEADING TO THE #WEURO2022 FINAL! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/5slvrnjm7q

— Lionesses (@Lionesses) July 26, 2022

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Ellen White walks onto the field, haemorrhaging tears of joy. Most of the players are beaming. Sarina Wiegman, as calm as ever, has a more restrained smile as she embraces the players one by one. Whatever happens on Sunday – and we’ll come to that, don’t worry – everyone involved will remember this night forever.

Ellen White celebrates England's victory.
Ellen White celebrates England’s victory. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Full time: England 4-0 Sweden

England will play France or Germany at Wembley on Sunday after hammering Sweden at a euphoric Bramall Lane. Sweden were the better team for half an hour, much the better team, but Beth Mead’s expert finish settled England down and they ran away with the game after half-time.

Lucy Bronze headed the second, the substitute Alessia Russo scored an incredible backheel and Fran Kirby chipped the fourth. The semi-final hoodoo is over, and now England will play their first final since September 2009.

90+1min Three minutes of added time. Most of the crowd would happily watch another three hours.

90 minutes Hemp’s teasing cross from the right just evades Russo, under pressure from Bjorn, and bounces fractionally wide from the far post.

89min The Russo backheel was even better because she had to wrap her right foot around her standing leg. That’s why I’m loath to be too critical of Lindahl, because the element of surprise was so great. She was definitely at fault for Kirby’s goal though.

Another look at that Alessia Russo goal? Oh, go on then. 😍

Live: https://t.co/zg8cPsrbEf#BBCFootball #BBCEuros pic.twitter.com/9y7bdKLZ5r

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 26, 2022

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88min “You’re all very welcome,” says Adam Griffiths. “I am nowhere near a telly on Sunday so the name is practically on the trophy.”

87min “Kirby is the cleverest football player England have had since Karen Carney,” ays Ruth Purdue. “Both were at least two passes ahead of the rest. I am not an England fan but it makes me smile to see her playing again.”

Amen to that.

86 mins: Triple substitution for England Jill Scott, Alex Greenwood and Chloe Kelly replace Georgia Stanway, Rachel Daly and Beth Mead, whose superb goal started all this. A word for Daly too, who was under a lot of pressure coming into this game and has been close to flawless.

85 minutes Stanway is booked for a poor, studs-up tackle on Bennison. A few referees would have sent her off for that, though on balance I think a yellow card was correct.

83min And here’s the fourth goal.

Sometimes, things just go your way…#BBCFootball #BBCEuros

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 26, 2022

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82min “Just wonderful for Fran Kirby,” says Charles Antaki. “Has there ever been such an unassuming and self-effacing midfield dynamo-schemer-general? Crowded out v Spain but majestic tonight.”

81min Toone’s cross is shanked onto the roof of her own net by Bjorn.

81min I’ll be honest, I’m still reeling from the third goal, never mind the fourth.

What can you say about that?! 🤯 #BBCFootball #BBCEuros

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 26, 2022

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80 minutes “Wow!” says Matt Donny. “Somewhere, Phil Neville is taking credit for this…”

79min Ella Toone replaces Fran Kirby, who walks off to a standing ovation and high-fives her manager. What a lovely moment for a player who has been through so much.

Fran Kirby, who has been close to her mischievous best tonight, gets in on the act. It came from a throw-in on the right, with Mead poking a quick, clever pass into the path of Kirby as she ran beyond the defense. Kirby curled a first-time chip over Lindahl, who got two hands on the ball but could only push it over her head and into the net.

England's Fran Kirby scores their fourth goal.
England’s Fran Kirby scores their fourth goal. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
England's Fran Kirby celebrates after scoring her side's fourth goal.
And celebrates in style. Photograph: Jon Super/AP

GOAL! England 4-0 Sweden (Kirby 77)

I think it’s safe to say that England are going to Wembley.

76min Two more changes for Sweden: Lina Hurtig and Hanna Bennison replace Linda Sembrant and Stina Blackstenius.

75 minutes Sweden are still dominating possession, but at the moment England look the likelier scorers. A night like that was unimaginable in the first 25 minutes, when Sweden opened England up on the counter and had all the best chances.

73min Bjorn is booked for tripping Stanway.

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