Good teams will go far in major tournaments, but only great teams win trophies. That was Fran Kirby’s message before England’s 4-0 thrashing of Sweden that saw the Lionesses reach a historic Wembley final.
Sweden were the highest-ranked team at these Euros, fresh off an Olympic silver medal, but they went the same way as every other nation who has had the misfortune to be pitted against Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses.
They are now just 90 minutes away from winning their home European Championship as they await news of who they will be facing on 31 July under the arch.
England were not favourites going into the tournament, but the sense of expectation is now so great that finishing as runners-up would now prompt a real sense of deflation.
At the very least, England have not joined the long list of sides who failed to live up to the hype. Norway were tipped as dark horses, only to suffer a record-breaking 8-0 defeat to the hosts and crash out at the group stages. Spain dominated for long periods in their quarter-final against England, but were deflated by Ella Toone’s late equaliser and were beaten by Georgia Stanway’s winner in extra time.
Defending champions Netherlands did not make it past the quarters amidst rumours of player dissent against manager Mark Parsons, Denmark failed to harness the power of Pernille Harder, and a supposedly up-and-coming Italy outfit took one point from their three games.
When is Euro 2022 final?
Aside from England, just two sides now remain, with the second semi-final taking place on 27 July at stadium:mk between Germany and France.
England have an extra day’s rest before the trip to Wembley.