24 Jul 2022 | 08:41 | Football
Linda Sembrant’s stoppage-time winner broke Belgian hearts as Sweden beat Leigh 1-0 on Friday to reach the Euro 2022 semi-finals with hosts England. The Olympic silver medalists are strong favorites against a Belgian team playing in their first knockout at a major women’s tournament. However, the world’s second-placed team was disappointed by Belgium’s Nicky Evrard, who shot poorly and watched the controversial VAR for 92 minutes until Sembrant made the breakthrough.
“I think it was a game where we had control,” said Sembrant.
“They were really difficult because they were very tight in front of goal, but in the end we got the goal we needed.”
Sweden’s preparations have been hit by a trio of positive coronavirus cases with Jonna Andersson, Hanna Glas and Emma Kullberg.
But they still dominated from start to finish with 34 saves by Belgium.
The Belgians surpassed expectations only by making it past the group stage for the first time in their second major tournament in women’s content.
“We were the underdogs from the start but we played really well as a team,” said Red Flames captain Tessa Wullaert.
“That’s what I want to keep in mind from this tournament.”
Filippa Angeldal forced Evrard to head in a series of saves in the first 10 minutes.
The Manchester City midfielder, who scored twice in Sweden’s 5-0 win over Portugal in their final match of the group stage, then scored a clearer goal from the edge of the box.
Sweden thought they had made a breakthrough after 26 minutes when Stina Blackstenius chilled past Evrard from a Kosovare Asllani cross.
However, for the third time in the tournament, the Arsenal forward was denied a review by VAR for being offside which disqualified the goal.
Sweden’s attacking fluency vanished after the break as they struggled to break through a massive Belgian defence.
Subsequent settlements became the biggest threat from Peter Gerhardsson’s side.
Blackstenius should have scored when she headed too close to the excellent Evrard.
Goalkeeper Gent even successfully blocked Nathalie Bjorn’s effort in the last minute of injury time, but Sembrant’s brilliant counter-attack helped Sembrant break the ball over the bar and spark passionate celebrations between the team. Switzerland.
Sweden defender Magdalena Eriksson said: “I felt tears coming out of my eyes because I was so happy.
“It was a frustrating evening. To finally have that relief, my goodness. I’m so proud of all the girls for how hard we fought.”
Sweden has not lost in the open game since March 2020.
But they face a huge step up in quality against England in front of a 30,000-capacity crowd in Sheffield on Tuesday.
“I know all the players, extremely talented players,” added Chelsea defender Eriksson.
“He’s been fantastic in the league so far. We have to really get in. It’s about recovering and coming back fresh.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the syndication feed.)
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