England take on Sweden and Germany will face France for the right to a place in the women’s Euro 2022 final at a sold out Wembley next Sunday.
AFP Sport looks at what to look out for in the semi-finals.
England v Sweden (Tuesday, 20.00)
England were six minutes away from an early exit on home soil until Ella Toone’s equaliser saved the Lionesses against Spain in a nerve-wracking quarter-final.
Georgia Stanway’s stunning strike then sent the hosts into the last four of a fourth consecutive major tournament.
England lost all three of those previous semi-finals, but there are reasons to believe this time could be different for a nation desperate for a first major title in either the men’s or women’s game since 1966.
The Lionesses will have nearly 30,000 on their side for Tuesday’s semi-final at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane.
England also have a European Championship winner on the bench in Sarina Wiegman, who led the Netherlands to glory on home soil five years ago.
Wiegman has now won 10 games from 10 at the Euro with two different countries and her ability to change a game was vital as Spain closed in on victory in Brighton on Wednesday.
Her substitutions made the difference with the youth of Toone, Alessia Russo and Chloe Kelly trusted to turn the biggest game of their careers around.
The impact of England’s substitutes throughout the tournament have also underlined the strength in depth on offer to Wiegman.
For the first time at Euro 2022, the hosts are now coming up against a side ranked above them in the FIFA rankings and with even more experience at the latter stages of major tournaments.
Sweden feel their time has come after reaching the World Cup semi-finals three years ago and the Olympic final last summer, where they lost to Canada on penalties.
Peter Gerhardsson’s women have yet to hit top form in England. Despite having 34 attempts on goal, Sweden needed a 92nd winner from Linda Sembrant to see off Belgium 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
But that defeat to Canada from the spot was the only time Sweden have lost since March 2020, a run that includes a win and a draw against world champions the USA.
“We’ll have a plan and we’ll need a good plan. Maybe well need an extremely, very good plan,” said Gerhardsson.
“We have seen all of England’s games and they consist of a lot of speed, really skilful players in midfield. It’s going to be an interesting challenge.”
Germany v France (Wednesday, 20.00)
Germany have a claim to have been the most consistent side on show in the tournament so far.
Die Nationalelf have won all four of their games without even conceding a goal, but Austria exposed some cracks in the German defence despite a 2-0 defeat in the quarter-finals.
Austria hit the woodwork three times at the Brentford Community Stadium on Thursday and Germany can ill afford to be so generous in giving up chances against France.
Les Bleues needed extra-time to see off holders the Netherlands 1-0 in the quarter-finals, but should have been far more convincing winners as they dominated the defending champions.
Just by reaching the last four, Corinne Diacre’s side have made history in reaching France’s first semi-final at the women’s Euro.
But they may come to regret not putting the Dutch away earlier with an extra 30 minutes in their legs adding to Germany’s advantage of two extra rest days.
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