Sweden 1-0 Belgium: Swedes set up Women’s Euros semi-final showdown with hosts England on Tuesday as defender Linda Sembrant’s stoppage time winner breaks Red Flames’ hearts
- Sweden set up humdinger clash with England in Sheffield on Tuesday night
- Belgium made the Swedes, the overwhelming favourites, work for their win
- Linda Sembrant popped up with the winning goal minutes from the end of the 90
Sweden produced a miraculous last-gasp effort to see off Belgium and ensure it would be them that would head to Bramall Lane to face England on Tuesday night.
The Swedes, true aristocracy of the women’s game, headed into this fixture clear favourites against a Belgian side whose team contained a number of players who play in a non-professional division. As it was, Belgium made the Swedes work for their victory and were within minutes of taking them to extra-time.
The highest-ranked team in this tournament, Sweden, had 34 efforts on goal and 13 corners but it was only right at the end that their pressure really told.
Sweden’s players wheeled away in delight after Linda Sembrant (third right) ended the agony and sent them through to the semi-finals
Stina Blackstenius, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and captain Kosovare Asllani worked tirelessly throughout but all struggled to pick the final pass at the opportune moment. That, however, will not be remembered after the goal came from an unlikely source.
Sweden, pinning Belgium back as they had done for much of the second half, won their 13th corner of the night. Asllani, whose delivery all evening, from both the left and right, had not been up to her usual high standards, swung the ball in and found the perfect landing spot on a bunched up group of defenders all piled on top of their own goalkeeper on their goal line.
Confusion ensued, no doubt with various players shouting that it was their ball. Linda Sembrant, superb throughout for Sweden, intelligently drifted off the back of her marker and let the goalkeeper Nicky Evrard parry the ball into her path.
Sembrant’s goal mid-way through added time ensured Sweden avoided embarrassment
She dutifully received, and, unlike her teammates, found the spot to drill the ball and ensure Sweden avoided embarrassment on a wet night at the Leigh Sports Village.
The Swedes had dominated for much of the first half, despite the possession statistics telling a different story, and should have taken the lead when Blackstenius slotted the ball home in the 25th minute. However, a VAR review showed that she was just offside when Asllani passed her the ball and the goal was chalked off.
It was a tight call, and likely one that would have angered Sweden’s boss Peter Gerhardsson had they not gone on to win the game.
Belgium were not without openings. Justine Vanhaevermaet went close with a first half effort that flashed across goal, while Elena Dhont’s introduction for Laura Deloose gave them an option on the break that they could conceivably have capitalised on.
Manager Gerhardsson has a decision to make over the position of Fridolina Rolfo in his team
It is wonder, such was the effectiveness of Dhont’s speed late on, whether Ives Serneels, Belgium’s head coach, regrets not having introduced her earlier. Such is life, such is international tournament football, one might respond.
Sweden will have to tighten up their forward play should they hope to lay a finger on England on Tuesday night, one would think. Frankly, for all of their efforts here, few of them truly challenged Belgium and they could not have had many complaints had they been taken to extra time, or indeed worse.
Manager Gerhardsson has a decision to make on his forward line. Sweden fans and pundits alike (Jonas Eidevall who is working for the BBC this tournament) expressed their displeasure at the performance of Fridolina Rolfo during the first half. Although the Barcelona star improved in the second period, her touch and final ball was off and she appeared to remain on the pitch for a bit too long.
Belgium’s players appeared shell shocked when Sembrant’s effort hit the back of the net
Managers like backing their stars, simply because they gamble that they will eventually come up with the goods. But in such a fluid and technically-dependent team such as Sweden, can they afford to carry a passenger for the possibility that they might produce one moment of magic?
The semi-final now has an interesting subplot of two teams heading to South Yorkshire having been far from their best in their respective quarter-final ties. England will, privately, consider themselves slightly lucky to have escaped from Brighton still in their home tournament, while Sweden would surely have hoped to have got some more rest in their star players’ legs on a gruelling night in Leigh.
It sets it up for a fascinating semi-final encounter. Bramall Lane, one of the true traditional grounds of English football, awaits.
The game’s quality appeared to drop at times with the players struggling to find the final ball
Follow Sportsmail’s live blog for updates on Sweden vs Belgium in tonight’s Women’s Euro 2022 quarter-final.
There are some gutted Belgians out there, and some truly shattered looking Swedes too.
Belgium made Sweden work for that, and England, who might have feared that Sweden would swat away their opponents and as such head into Tuesday’s semi-final, will be secretly happy about that. Some serious recovery needed for the Swedish players this weekend.
Anyway, that is that from us tonight. Good night, and have a good weekend. Enjoy Holland-France tomorrow, that promises to be a real cracker.
Heartbreak for Belgium, who were superb throughout. They deserved more than to lose to a goal at that time.
Sweden, however, kept plugging away and received just rewards for their 32 efforts.
Sweden will head to Bramall Lane to face England in what promises to be an absolute humdinger of a major tournament semi-final.
My word, major tournaments are good, aren’t they? What drama.
Sweden’s 13th corner is their best. Asllani finally gets one to land on the goal line and when it does, it’s difficult for any goalkeeper or any defence.
Evrard gets it away but Sembrandt, who has been excellent all night, gets the crucial shot away and surely that’s Sweden heading to South Yorkshire to face England.
Three minutes added time or, for the second time this week, a quarter-final will be heading to extra-time.
First Belgium, with Dhont’s touch letting her down. Then up the other end Asllani has a looping effort that goes high and wide.
Two minutes of normal time to go.
Kassandra Missipo is about to be introduced.
Asllani has a chance to play Blackstenius in but a poor pass ensures the ball dribbles through to the grateful Belgian goalkeeper. As noted, Sweden’s final ball has been off all night.
Angeldahl, who must have had at least 10 of Sweden’s attempts herself, is replaced by Hanna Bennison.
Six to go.
Blackstenius should really score, but it’s a great save. It had reported on here that the ball was bobbling around, but that’s unfair. Sembrandt does well to hook it over her shoulder to Blackstenius.
You did indeed read that right.
The set-pieces have not worked for Sweden so far this evening. Another isn’t hit with nearly enough accuracy.
Sweden have been odd tonight – usually their final ball and delivery is stupendous, with them possessing quality all over the pitch. That has not been the case tonight, however. Why? Nerves?
Seger, Sweden’s captain, urges the team on from the bench with a very dour looking Gerhardsson deep in conversation with one of his assistants behind her.
Sweden are now beginning to get frustrated, with Asllani and Nilden both having a pop at the referee. It looks like Asllani was also booked there, but that wasn’t clear.
Wullaert finds herself about 25 yards from the Swedish goal and haring down. De Caigny makes a smart run, peeling off her marker on the left and into space.
Wullaert finds her teammate and all the Hoffenheim forward has to do is hit it with her left-foot! She delays which leads to a heavy touch and Sweden get it away. The Swedes will be enormously relieved. The Belgians will not.
What an incredible save from Evrard.
The ball is again bobbling about in the box and Blackstenius has a point-blank header which she appears to do enough to evade the grasps of the Belgium ‘keeper, but Evrard gets a strong hand to it and pushes it away.
Are Sweden going to find a goal? They’re running out of regulation time.
Dhont immediately finds herself involved inside the Sweden box. Sembrandt and Eriksson swarm her, however, and Sweden retrieve the ball.
Sweden then win their ninth corner of the game. It sails over the heads of the waiting Swedish attackers. Bjorn then delivers the ball back in and that is also overhit.
Will we have a winner inside 90 minutes?
Laura Deloose is withdrawn for Elena Dhont.
Belgium are retreating deeper and deeper here. Sweden are getting their forward players on the ball more and openings are beginning to come.
Blackstenius finds the ball at her feet but is swarmed by Belgian defenders. Around 25 minutes to go, remains 0-0.
Does Angeldahl try and lob the keeper there? The ball breaks to the midfielder after some good link-up play by Asllani. She takes a heavy touch but still manages to get to the ball first and her effort, from about 30 yards, is neither a shot struck with significant power nor enough deftness to lob the keeper from that distance. It just about sails over the bar.
Rolfo is trying to make things happen but appears to be in that sort of rut of form when nothing is coming off. She attempts to play a ball into the inside-left channel behind Deloose into the path of Asllani but the ball is overhit and goes out for a goal kick.
The TV director then cleverly pans to the Sweden coach Gerhardsson who looks less than impressed. Could he soon bend to the demands of his nation’s supporters and withdraw his seemingly unbending faith in his misfiring star?
Unsure whether it’s the weather and the pitch therefore getting a bit heavy, but the game has broken up a bit and is beginning to get cagey.
Belgium, meanwhile, continue to dominate the ball. Sweden need to try and remain calm here amid quite significant pressure.
A rare Belgian foray forwards leads to Cayman crossing the ball having made an intelligent run. She has not got on the ball nearly enough tonight.
Much of the first half was spent with Angeldahl deep when she was on the ball, barring a few surging runs forward that promised quite a bit.
Here, she receives the ball on the edge of the D and tries to slip Kaneryd in who has made an intelligent run off the shoulder of Philtjens. Leads to a corner. Corner leads to nothing.
The Swedes are trying to play wider, clearly. Nilden, who had very few touches in the first half, is getting on the ball much more. Combines well again with Rolfo.
Rolfo, who is getting a bit of a pasting from Sweden fans on social media – as well as Eidevall at half-time – for her performance so far, combines well with Nilden. The left-back pulls it back for the left-sided forward but her touch is poor and it gets away from her.
All to play for. Belgium get us back underway.
Belgium will certainly be the happier of the two sides heading into the break. They have weathered a Swedish storm but also had some openings themselves, and if their final ball had been a little crisper might have been dreaming of something even better than 0-0 at the break.
Would you rather play in close to 40 degrees or driving Manchester rain? Very few can claim to have done both, but these Belgian players can.
Around three to go until the break. Don’t think half-time would be a bad thing for either side at this stage. Sweden almost have a calamitous mix up involving Sembrandt and Lindahl.
Wullaert picks the ball up on the left and drives at the Swedish right-back. She sends a dangerous cross in that Lindahl does well to parry away.
Decent game, this.
Belgium are getting away with this a bit, at the moment. Some questionable defending almost leads to a freak goal but they shovel the ball away.
Half-time would not be the worst thing in the world for them now. Sweden have had 11 efforts to Belgium’s one.
Kaneryd has been the best player on the park by quite some distance. Every time Sweden get the ball, they look for their right-sided forward.
This time a mazy run has her inside the Belgium box wide right with Philtjens looking at sixes and sevens trying to deal with her.
The ball then pops up on the edge of the box and Bjorn lashes a drive over.
Philtjens then struggles again to deal with Kaneryd, leading to her being booked after hauling the Swedish forward down. That booking means she will miss the semi-final, should Belgium get there.
Belgium’s first attempt brings applause from their manager, Ives Serneels. Vanhaevermaet receives the ball around 25 yards from goal on the right hand side and unleashes a low effort that flashes across the goal. Need a bit more of that, Belgium, you’d think.
The ball played through to Blackstenius for that disallowed goal was almost a real beauty. Kaneryd drifted in off the right when she noticed poor Belgian retention of possession and an opportunity to pounce.
That really was excellent forward play. Peter Gerhardsson will be happy with his team so far.
That was very, very tight. Whatever happened to the benefit of the doubt to the forward? You’d imagine Sweden will feel hard done by there.
It looked as though Blackstenius had arched her run just enough to stay onside, but it was not to be. Remains 0-0.
One end to the other and it is not good defending from Belgium. The Belgians don’t make the most of a promising forward move and the ball ends up in the grateful hands off Lindall who punts it forward.
Sweden’s captain for the evening slips Kaneryd in and she wins the inaugural champions a corner. Played too deeply and it comes to nothing.
Belgium will tire if they retreat further and further back into their own half. Fortunately for them, they get a throw in which Philtjens takes and Sweden recover the ball. Screw is being turned.
Sweden’s shape is extremely fluid by the looks of it tonight. In terms of how they press and the way they then set up with the ball, it is not dissimilar from Rinus Michels’s 1965-1971 Ajax team in terms of fluidity.
Angeldahl and Asllani are everywhere.
That is a big opening. Ilestedt has a lovely ball played over the top to her as she drifted off her marker and into the right-hand side of the six-yard box. Her header is pushed away into the danger area by Evrard with Blackstenius and Rolfo waiting.
Rolfo, however, is off balance and can’t get enough of a strike on it to ensure Sweden go 1-0 up. Belgium will have to defend better than that if they hope to get something from this game, both on the edge of their box and deep inside their area.
⏱ 6’ | First shot on goal. Nicky Evrard with a magnificent save. #SWEBEL #FLAMETIME
Poor from Belgium who allow themselves to be pinned in by a hunting combination of Blackstenius and Rolfo. The ball then falls to Angeldahl on the edge of the 18-yard box and her effort is blazed over when she should at least be hitting the target.
Good point made on the commentary feed that Austria could provide a benchmark for Belgium. They were significant underdogs, although admittedly probably not quite as unfancied as Belgium are tonight.
Good start by both teams. It had looked for a few minutes or so that Sweden had Belgium pinned back but a sequence of around 10 passes for the Red Flames brings them a corner, to be taken by De Neve.
Great play by Angeldahl who surges through midfield from just inside her own half and launches a low drive which is well kept out by Evrard in the Belgium goal.
Sweden, already, beginning to turn the screw. Seven minutes gone.
Ilestedt, playing out of position tonight owing to Hannah Glas’s absence, takes a nice touch and gets the ball into the feet of tonight’s captain Asllani. She wins a corner. It comes to little.
Too early to say that Belgium have started well, but they make the first foray into an opposition box. Eriksson shovels the ball away and it ends up at the feet of Blackstenius but she can’t bring it under her control when being backed into by the two Belgian centre-backs.
Belgium get on the ball early and the customary right-balanced Swedish press is seen in all its glory early on. Ilestedt closes down Minnaert to give away a throw in.
The players take the knee to rapturous applause and then Sweden get us underway.
The anthems ring out, with Belgium going first. Looks a dreary evening up there in Leigh, it must be said. A far cry from the 35+ degrees the town would have seen earlier this week.
Ooft, big words from Eidevall. Sweden, who finished runners up at last summer’s Olympic Games and third place at the 2019 World Cup and have serious pedigree in this tournament, will know how much pressure is on them tonight.
Here come the teams.
The Belgian women’s top flight is not yet fully professional and as such this is a David vs. Goliath-style match up. Sweden’s team is packed full of elite stars.
The BBC of course have Eidevall as part of their coverage tonight, alongside Kelly Smith and Anita Asante.
He is pointing out how Sweden always try and get teams to pass out from the back to their left – this is something Belgium will have to combat otherwise it could be a long evening for them.
Th wait is indeed almost over.
The wait is almost over. 😎 #SWEBEL #FLAMETIME pic.twitter.com/zUEJ0XC7yR
There are a number of exciting players on show tonight, with both sides possessing players who can hurt the other.
Kosovare Asllani, should she get on the ball enough, could take the game away from Belgium. While the Arsenal forward, Stina Blackstenius, will hope to get off the shoulder of the Belgian cente-backs.
Meanwhile, Tina De Caigny, who scored Belgium’s crucial winner against Italy to send them through to this stage, will hope to build on her confidence.
BBC Two is your channel of choice for the evening. Also, of course, available on iPlayer.
These two sides have met before in the qualifying rounds for the 1987 edition of this tournament. Sweden ran out winners on both occasions that year, winning 2-1 away from home and 5-0 at home. Sweden would go on to finish runners up in that year’s tournament proper, with Belgium being eliminated at the qualifying stage having finished bottom of their shared group.
Sweden emerged out of a tough looking group on top, having won two of their games and drawn the other. With Holland, the reigning champions, in their group, it appeared as though they might have to settle for second place but a convincing win over Portugal in their final group game assured them of top spot.
Belgium, meanwhile, were in France’s group and were always likely to settle for second place amid stiff competition from Italy and Iceland. Their nervy 1-0 win over Italy in the final game of the group this week ensured their path to the quarter-finals.
It would be something of a major shock were Belgium to emerge tonight victorious. But, this is international football and anything can happen, as they say.
Belgium: Evrard; Deloose, Kees, De Neve, Philtjens; Biesmans, Vanhaevermaet, Minnaert; Cayman, De Caigny, Wullaert
Friday night fever with these 1️⃣1️⃣. 👊 #SelectedbyPwC #SWEBEL #FLAMETIME pic.twitter.com/o0nvuJq5Zd
Sweden: Lindahl; Ilestedt, Sembrant, Nilden, Eriksson; Angeldal, Asllani, Bjorn; Rytting Kaneryd, Blackstenius, Rolfo
Neither Glas nor Kullberg make it. While there is good news on the Seger front who is fit for the bench having been out with a heel injury.
Belgium up next.
Kvällens elva! 💥
Mot semifinal! 🇸🇪#WEURO2022
Well, what a week of quarter-finals it has been so far. The Lionesses somehow emerged from their clash with Spain despite looking bound for an early tournament exit only minutes from the end.
While Germany set out their credentials to wrestle their title back this summer with a convincing and assured 2-0 victory over Austria last night.
Tonight, attention turns to Leigh Sports Village, where Belgium face Sweden for a chance to play England at Bramall Lane next Tuesday.
Team news next.
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