Sarina Wiegman said she was “incredibly proud” after her England team swept Sweden aside, reaching the Euro 2022 final with a 4-0 victory. After overcoming a tough start, it was a statement performance from the Lionesses who beat one of the favourites for the tournament.
“This result will go all over Europe and the world,” the England manager said. “It was such a performance that tomorrow everyone will talk about us. I think we have shown that we are very resilient.” Despite the electric atmosphere at Bramall Lane clearly in favour of the hosts, Sweden were not intimidated and started on the front foot.
The game was increasingly stretched, however, with England afforded space in transition. Beth Mead’s clinical finishing turned the tide after half an hour. Three goals followed in an impressive second‑half showing, with Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo and Fran Kirby all adding their names to the scoresheet.
“We didn’t start well,” Wiegman said. “We struggled a bit with how they play defensively. But we did better and better and the players found the solutions.
“The goal changed the momentum but I think in the second half we started playing better. We were tighter on the ball, made better decisions and the spaces became bigger.”
Russo’s goal was the highlight of the night, a backheel that nutmegged Hedvig Lindahl in the Sweden goal. “You must have so much courage to do such an unpredictable and phenomenal thing like that” said Wiegman of her young forward’s skill.
However, never one to get carried away, Wiegman was also keen to remain level-headed about her side’s feat. “We celebrate now a little bit,” she said post-match. “But we have a dream. We have come very far now and we want to go all the way.”
Peter Gerhardsson, the Sweden manager, rued his side’s missed opportunities early on. “I thought we had enough chances and the most dangerous chances to score … It would’ve given the game a different outlook. England are a very skilful team. When you play this type of opponent, you have to be effective and score the chances you get.”
Mead has lit up England’s attack and continued her search for the Golden Boot, scoring her sixth goal of the competition. It changed the course of the match, settling the Lionesses’ nerves.
“I enjoyed it,” Mead said. “I think it came at a good time as there was a lot of pressure on us as they had created a lot of chances. I’m just happy to help the team again.
“I think at the full-time whistle we didn’t really know what to do. It was an incredible atmosphere and we’re just delighted to be in the final.”