(Football news) A record breaking 28,624 crowd at Bramall Lane witnessed England Women secure a 4-0 win over Sweden in the first Euro 2022 semi final. The Lionesses were tested by their opponents for large parts of the first half but the deadlock was finally broken by Beth Mead in the 34th minute when she collected a pass from Lucy Bronze before finishing on the turn to register her sixth goal of the competition. Mead is now two goals ahead of Germany's Alexandra Popp and her compatriot Alessia Russo for the Golden Boot.
Early in the second half, Bronze capitalised on Sweden’s failure to clear a corner to score England’s second in the 48th minute, nodding home a free header. Manchester United’s Alessia Russo, who has been a regular feature for the England Women from the bench, displayed a moment of brilliance with a bold backheel effort that went into the back of the net in the 68th minute. To make matters worse for Sweden, England’s Fran Kirby scored the fourth goal after spotting the goalkeeper off her line and going for an audacious lob. Sweden keeper Lindahl did manage to get a hand on the ball but it wasn’t enough. The result means that England will now face either Germany or France in the final, depending on the result of the 2nd semi final.
Speaking after the match, England manager Sarina Wiegman said “You asked yesterday if we were ready to write history. This is history. We said before the tournament and throughout that we want to inspire the nation, I think that's what we're doing and making a difference. The whole country is proud of us, and even more girls and boys will want to play football. We have confidence in this team, our players stay calm and stick with the plan. We spoke about scenarios and sometimes things go well and sometimes things don't. We can count on each other and our task and then come back into the team."
Meanwhile, Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson said “I can't give analysis, but I can give emotions. It's tough, naturally. In the first 25 minutes I thought we had chances, even though England did too. We had the more dangerous chances to score first. It would have given the game a different outlook. Going 2-0 down from a set piece early in the second half against a difficult opponent like England is going to be tough. Then going 3-0 and 4-0 down doesn't make it any easier. We were playing a really talented team and when you face that sort of opponent you need to take your chances. We matched them physically but there are various reasons why it went the way it did in the second half."