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England overcome slow start to breeze past Sweden into Women’s Euro final

Beth Mead and Lucy Bronze each had an assist and a goal as England overcame a nervy start to thrash Sweden 4-0 at Bramall Lane in Sheffield on Tuesday night and advance to the final of the 2022 Women’s European Championship.

Sarina Wiegman’s England side came into the match as favorites in the semifinal against world No. 2 Sweden following a dramatic come-from-behind win over Spain in the quarters, as the Lionesses looked to remain on track to win a first major trophy for their country since the men’s team won the 1966 World Cup.

Sweden looked dangerous on the counter in the early going, but England were first to score when Mead settled a Bronze cross from the right in the 34th minute, turned and smashed a lovely volley past Hedvig Lindahl to give the Lionesses the lead at half-time.

England started the second half in perfect fashion, with Bronze heading home at Lindahl’s far post from Mead’s whipped in corner to double the lead after a brief VAR check for offside.

Arsenal forward Mead, the leading scorer at the tournament with six goals and two assists in five games so far, said she and her teammates were at a loss at how to react after putting England on the brink of an historic trophy.

“I think at the full time whistle we didn’t really know what to do,” Mead said as the adopted British sporting anthem “Sweet Caroline” echoed around the Yorkshire arena.

“It was an unbelievable atmosphere and we are excited to be in the final. The goal came at a good time because there was pressure on us and they had a few chances.”

Lauren Hemp nearly put England up three on 57 minutes, but her touch was just off with a close-range shot and the ball popped up and caromed off the crossbar.

Ten minutes later, England found their third from substitute Alessia Russo’s clever back-heel that went right between the legs of Sweden keeper Lindahl to secure victory and a spot in the final for third time in the team’s history.

And Fran Kirby made it 4-0 before full-time to the delight of the sold-out crowd of 28,624 with a clever chip that Lindahl could only get her fingertips on before it bounced into the back of the net. England, who has by far the most goals from open play at the tournament with 17, will face the winner of Wednesday’s other semifinal between Germany and France.

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