Sweden set up a Euro 2022 semi-final showdown with England after Linda Sembrant’s last-gasp goal saw them edge Belgium 1-0 in a tight quarter-final clash.
Although Sweden headed into the game as heavy favourites, it turned out to be a far closer game than many could have predicted, turning into a battle of wills as it wore on.
Sweden thought they had taken the lead in the first half as Stina Blackstenius fired past goalkeeper Nicky Evrard. She collected a lovely forward pass from Kosovare Asllani before keeping her cool to beat the Belgium stopper, but after a VAR check, she was deemed to be offside.
The Swedes registered 33 shots at Leigh Sports Village, although most of these came from range as they struggled to break down a well-drilled Belgium. However, it was a dramatic finish as Sembrant turned home with extra time looming.
Evrard had made some superb saves throughout and almost denied Sweden again, punching away Asllani’s corner delivery and blocking Natalie Bjorn’s follow-up. But she could do nothing about Sembrant turning home from close range with the rebound as Belgium were beaten in their first ever knockout game at a major international tournament.
Sweden now set up an almighty semi-final meeting with tournament hosts England on Tuesday evening for a place in the Euro 2022 final at Wembley on July 31.
How Sweden finally breached the Belgium defences
Sweden had the better of the opening chances. Filippa Angeldahl forced a superb save from Evrard inside six minutes, before also firing wide from the resulting corner. Evrard was again in great form soon after, stopping Amanda Ilestedt’s flicked corner at the near post before keeping Blackstenius from netting the rebound.
After the Arsenal midfielder’s disallowed goal, Belgium saw their best chances of the half. Tessa Wullaert’s lay-off to Julie Biesmans saw the latter skim an effort past the post. The Belgium captain was provider again not long after, but her cross was punched away well by Hedvig Lindahl.
The second half could by no means be considered a classic, although it was an exciting start as Illestedt sent a cross onto the corner of the post, but the offside flag was up.
Belgium continued to marshal their opponents well, but needed another world-class save from Evrard to keep them in the game in the 73rd minute. Asllani’s free-kick was nodded back across by Linda Sembrant. It landed for Blackstenius, but her poke from inside the six-yard box was stopped by Evrard.
The Red Flames introduced Elena Dhont in the second half and she proved to be a lively attacking outlet as Belgium looked to nick a shock victory. In the final 10 minutes, Dhont was set away down the right and tried to catch Lindahl off her line, but her shot hammered into the side netting.
Minutes later, she played the ball to Wullaert down the right before racing into the area, but Amanda Nilden was there to nick the ball away ahead of Dhont.
But for all of their good work, Belgium’s defences were finally breached with mere seconds to go until 30 extra minutes, sending Sweden into the final four.
Sweden will now face England in the semi-finals on Tuesday at Bramall Lane with kick-off at 8pm. The Euro 2022 final will take place at Wembley on July 31; kick-off 5pm.
The knock-out phase…
Wednesday July 20
Quarter-final 1: England 2-1 Spain (AET)
Thursday July 21
Quarter-final 2: Germany 2-0 Austria
Friday July 22
Quarter-final 3: Sweden 1-0 Belgium
Saturday July 23
Quarter-final 4: France vs Netherlands – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
Tuesday July 26
Semi-final 1: England vs Sweden – kick-off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Wednesday July 27
Semi-final 2: Germany vs France or Netherlands – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK
Sunday July 31
Winners semi-final 1 v Winners semi-final 2 – kick-off 5pm, Wembley
Sky Sports News and Sky Sports’ digital platforms will be following every step of England’s Euro 2022 journey ahead of Tuesday’s semi-final.
On the road, the Sky Sports News Mobile Presentation bus will continue to bring you all the best guests and analysis from the likes of Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett offering their expert insight. The bus will be based in the heart of Sheffield ahead of England’s last four fixture, before heading to Wembley for the final.
Across SkySports.com, the Sky Sports App and on social media, we’ll have all the big moments covered with our previews, features, reports, analysis, plus the the Sky Sports Women’s Euros podcast with Sky Sports’ senior football journalist Charlotte Marsh and Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui.
And if you’re new to the England squad, don’t worry – here’s our guide to meeting the Lionesses.
As well as England, Sky Sports News and Sky Sports digital will also be covering all the knockout games as we head towards the showpiece final on July 31.