England hope to ‘inspire nation’ in Euro semis

The England women are hoping to “inspire the nation” in their Euro semifinal against Sweden at Bramall Lane in Sheffield on Tuesday with their bid to win the trophy for the first time, coach Sarina Wiegman said.

The Lionesses reached the last four after Georgia Stanway scored with a wonderful extra-time strike to earn them a 2-1 win over Spain last Wednesday in the quarterfinals.

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“The England team is ready to play the best game tomorrow against Sweden,” Wiegman told ahead of their clash with Sweden (watch live on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. ET on Tuesday). “Hopefully we inspire the nation.

“We’ve prepared for everything. We’ve talked about every scenario that can happen, so I think we’re prepared for everything.”

Wiegman said a “very difficult” game awaited England as Sweden, who they have not beaten at a major tournament since 1984, are well organised and very experienced.

“We are England. We have Sweden as our opponents tomorrow. They have a very strong squad, so do we. We just hope we’ll play our style of game and get the win,” Weigman said. “Everyone just has to stay focused on the game plan and, as much as they pose a threat, it’s about a collective.

“Every game is a different game and they always perform at the highest level in tournaments. They’re No. 2 in the world and it’ll be a really tough game.”

Wiegman hoped the fans would play a big role in helping England reach the final against Germany or France, who meet on Wednesday, in the best-ever attended edition of the tournament.

“Reaching the semifinal has been really great already. We saw we brought a lot of inspiration but the fans gave us a lot of inspiration too,” Wiegman added. “I hope the fans are going to bring us lots of energy again. We’ll do that ourselves, but it really was an extra dimension they gave us in those last games.”

However, Sweden striker Kosovare Asllani said her underdog side won’t be intimidated by England or their overwhelming support.

“It will be two teams that want to play tag in football. We’ve seen England playing fantastic football so far in the tournament but we think it is a game that will suit us,” Asllani said. “We are Sweden, we love to run and that’s what we will do tomorrow.

“Obviously England have home support, but we have done it before. We played against Brazil in the Maracana in 2016, with only Brazilian fans. We’re expecting a full stadium with English supporters.”

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