England Women

Women's Euro 2022: How England reached the final

Chloe Leadbeater
Kirby was fantastic in the final
Kirby was fantastic in the final / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages
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Only one match awaits.

90 minutes (or more) away from glory at Wembley.

The place will be awash with white and red, and the atmosphere will be absolutely electric. 

Before that though, let’s take a look at how the Lionesses got there:

1. Quarter final: England 2-1 Spain

England v Spain: Quarter Final - UEFA Women's EURO 2022
Toone scored a crucial goal / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

After a solid group stage, it was down to business for the Lionesses.

It was time to get down to it and grind. And grind is what they did against a strong Spain side.

Coming into the tournament, Spain were one of the favourites. Unfortunately, injuries hit them with two massive players pulling out. Alexia Putellas tore her ACL in training before Spain’s opening match and Jenni Hermoso had to leave training due to a knee injury. However, there was still enough talent in the squad to see them through to the knockout rounds.

It was Spain that would dominate the early exchanges. Their passing game is up there as one of the best in the world, but it’s their lack of clinical play that's let them down time and time again recently.

However they did manage to silence the majority home crowd when Esther Gonzalez scored.

At that point it felt like it was going to be another case of so near yet so far for England, but they dug in. The crowd soon picked up again to cheer them on.

Both managers rolled the dice with their substitutions with Sarina Wiegman hauling off Ellen White, Beth Mead and Fran Kirby. She went with Alessia Russo, Chloe Kelly and Ella Toone to try something different and it worked.

Ella Toone finally got the equaliser in the 84th minute which sent the crowd into rapture. Extra time followed and it was a Georgia Stanway wonder goal that sent the fans absolutely wild, and sent England to the semi finals.

The resilience and the grit that that England fans wanted came through. Never did they think they were heading out and it showed - despite the fans perhaps feeling the opposite.

They danced the night away with 'Sweet Caroline' and 'Freed From Desire' blasting out.

2. Semi final: England 4-0 Sweden

Leah Williamson
Willamson had her tournament best game in Sheffield / Harriet Lander/GettyImages

Sweden: the only team standing between the Lionesses and the final.

A team that they had rarely beaten before.

It started breathlessly with plenty of end-to-end action. It was always going to be this way. Sweden have a great record in these tournaments and they had a great spell at the start of the first half.

However it was England who would draw first blood - through who else but Beth Mead, who stepped up to break the deadlock and send the Bramall Lane crowd into rapture.

Mead controlled, swivelled and fired it in.

What a first half for England and from there, it seemed like Sweden had been rattled.

In the second half we saw the Lionesses that we’ve enjoyed watching throughout this tournament, and before. Ruthlessness and goals.

It took only a couple of minutes before Lucy Bronze headed in the second goal. VAR checked, but the goal stood.

The Lionesses seemed to get cheekier from there as the next two goals were simply outrageous.

First, it was Alessia Russo who had only just come on. Her shot, set up by Fran Kirby, was saved but then she showed incredible composure to nutmeg and back heel the ball through Hedvig Lindahl's legs and into the net. The next goal was by Kirby herself. She’s having the tournament of her life and her past experience with Lindahl paid dividends here. She went for the chip and, while Lindahl got fingertips to it, the effort floated in.

So the Lionesses are on the edge of glory. One game away from their names in the history books forever.

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