England 4-0 Sweden: Lionesses end semi-final curse in style at Euro 2022
Alessia Russo's stunning backheel goal helped England to a brilliant 4-0 win over Sweden at Euro 2022, ending their wait for a semi-final success.
The Lionesses weathered a strong start from Sweden that saw Stina Blackstenius rattle the crossbar and they took the lead when Beth Mead drilled home in the 34th minute.
Lucy Bronze doubled England's lead three minutes after the restart and a moment of magic from substitute Russo put England out of reach in the 68th minute.
Fran Kirby audaciously chipped Hedvig Lindahl with 14 minutes remaining, as England ended a run of three straight semi-final defeats at major tournaments and booked their place in Sunday's showpiece at Wembley.
England needed Mary Earps to keep Sofia Jakobsson at bay after just 20 seconds, with Sweden's bright start seeing Blackstenius hit the bar with a header from a corner in the ninth minute.
The game soon settled down but England controlled possession and they were rewarded when Mead controlled Bronze's cross expertly and fired a fine finish beyond Lindahl.
Bronze placed a header from Mead's delivery into the bottom-left corner as the Lionesses made a phenomenal start to the second half, with the bar stopping Lauren Hemp from making it three before the hour mark.
Earps did brilliantly to keep Blackstenius at bay as Sweden looked for a way back into the game but Russo backheeled a shot through Lindahl's legs to sap Sweden's resolve.
Kirby completed the scoring when she spotted former Chelsea team-mate Lindahl off her line to round off a resounding win for the Lionesses at Bramall Lane.
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England are now unbeaten in 19 matches since Sarina Wiegman took charge, with each of their past 11 being victories – a national record.
The Lionesses are now into their first major tournament final since 2009, with Germany or France standing between them and a first taste of silverware.
Sweden, whose 34-game unbeaten run finally came to an end, have now lost four of their past five semi-finals at the Euros.
History beckons for Mead
Mead has found the back of the net six times at Euro 2022, making her England's most prolific player in a single edition of the competition. One more goal would set a new European Championship record, with Inka Grings having also hit six for Germany in 2009.
Lindahl loses momentum
Sweden went close through Fridolina Rolfo and Blackstenius just before Lindahl was caught out by Russo's impudent flick. It was a significant blow for Sweden, and the keeper's failure to keep out Kirby ensured there was no way back.
England will crucially have an extra day to recover over whoever they play in the final, with Wiegman having to decide if she will pick the same line-up for the sixth straight game.