In this rain on Thursday evening, Sweden tried to score a total of 34 times. Eight attempts were successful. And with every shot they missed in that European Championship quarterfinal, they seemed more desperate. It just couldn’t happen! Sweden had qualified for the knockout stage as group leaders ahead of the Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal and apparently found their easiest opponent in Belgium. But it was not just his own lack of accuracy that stood in his way, but that of Belgian goalkeeper Nicky Everard.
The 27-year-old – who rents bouncy castles as a second job besides football – was instrumental in making it to a European Championship in Belgium more than ever before. She now prevented the consistent favorite from taking the lead, and was helped by a controversial offside in the 25th minute when Stina Blackstanius scored. Then, after 92 long, hard minutes, when everyone was already expecting extra time, the time had come. The Swedes got one of Everard’s 34 shots. Nathalie Björn tried first, after a corner from Kosovar Aslani, Everard saved with his foot. Straight to Linda Sembrante, who made it to the semi-finals with a 1–0 lead from close range.
This is Sweden’s ninth time among the top four teams in the European Championship, with only Germany having qualified more times, namely ten times. And Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson was able to congratulate himself on his decision: After Hanna Glass and Joanna Andersson were infected with the coronavirus, he relied on Amanda Nilden – and Sembrante, who is now the hottest at 35 years and 68 days. Old European Championship goalscorer. in your home country. “It’s hard to describe what I felt after the goal,” Sembrant said after the game in front of 7,500 spectators at Wigan & Leigh Stadium.
In 1984, Sweden won the European title only once.
Consisting of goalkeepers Hedwig Lindahl, Magdalena Eriksson, record international Caroline Seger and Aslani, the axis of the team has been on the pitch together for a long time: the team is strong, well rehearsed, experienced. There are over ten players, each with over 120 appearances. In the last major tournament, the 2021 Olympics, Sweden reached the final with almost the same line-up, which is now fueling hopes of success in England.
The team only lost to Canada on penalties in 2021. He also had a silver medal in the 2016 Olympics. Meanwhile, in the 2019 World Cup, Sweden lost the semi-finals 0–1 against the Netherlands in extra time – only to beat England 2–1 in a match for third place. So now the encounter is being repeated on Tuesday evening in Sheffield (9 pm, ARD) and the final is expected to return since 1984 – when Sweden won the title for the first and last time – as well as in 1987, 1995 and 2001. .
Gerhardsson said, “I was hoping it would be fun to play against Spain and take the challenge from their football, but he only wanted it to mean that his team already knew England: “Our better on England. The catch is there, but they are not easy opponents from Spain.” The challenge against the island hosts could be due not only to their home field advantage but also to their dynamic, fast-paced style of play.
Although his team struggled against Belgium, Gerhardsson said: “It will be an interesting game. I think we are very difficult to beat.” The Swedes have won a medal every time since the 62-year-old took office in 2017. Bronze 2019, Silver 2021. Will there be gold in 2022? This would require a significant rise against so many confident and hitherto convincing English women. “We should have a good plan to play against England,” Gerhardsson said.
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