“We’re in for a nervy one”: ex-Lionesses star on England vs Sweden Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final

England and Sweden will battle it out in this evening’s semi-final as former player prepares fans for spectacular encounter.

Former England player Karen Carney has warned fans to expect another dramatic battle as England face Sweden in their UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 semi-final tonight.

Carney delved into the performances of Peter Gerhardsson’s Swedish team over the tournament and stressed that the best may still be yet to come.

England beat Spain in a nervy extra-time showdown last Wednesday to seal their ticket to the last four as Georgia Stanway’s stunning strike ended the game 2-1.

Sweden produced a similar quarter-final journey to Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Linda Sembrant claiming victory with an injury-time goal against Belgium.

And Carney believes that Sweden are set to provide another formidable test for the Lionesses, insisting fans should buckle themselves in for an exciting ride.

She said: “I didn’t expect Sweden to blitz people off the park to be honest, that’s not their style. I actually tipped them to win the tournament if it wasn’t England.

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“They haven’t blown me away with their performances but what has made them so strong is their defensive organisation.

Karen Carney of England in 2019 at FIFA World Cup

“I think the teams that they have played haven’t suited their style and unfortunately playing England may suit their style a bit more.

“Sweden are better when they have spaces to run into, when they have transitional spaces. England will dominate the ball so those spaces will open. We are an expansive team. We like to play with maximum width.

“But even though there will be opportunities for Sweden, I still have confidence in our squad to defend properly when those opportunities do arise.

Millie Bright has been a revelation and Leah Williamson hasn’t really been tested yet - touch wood. It’s going to be difficult to break them down but I think we have enough quality to get the result that we want.

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“I think we’re in for another very nervy one, even more so than against Spain!”

Sarina Wiegman is yet to change her starting XI for each of the Lionesses’ victories this tournament, instead relying on the bench to insert energy in the closing stages.

In their quarter-final clash, Ella Toone came on for Fran Kirby in the second half and proved a decisive player in the 84th minute with the equaliser that kept England in the race.

Performances such as Toone’s have led to emerging pressure on whether Wiegman should make those initial changes, but Carney has faith in the process and believes this time out will be no different.

She said: “I think [Wiegman] will keep it the same. How I would flip it is to ask: ‘Would the starters make the same impact as the subs?’

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“So if Ellen and Fran were coming on, would they make the same impact? I don’t know.

“What people seem to forget is the work Ellen and Fran do to tire out the opposition. Games only open up from 60 minutes plus at the top level.

“So is there a reason to change what has been working for England? The younger players probably want to start but this opposition are very different and physical and we have to be mindful of that.

“This team are smashing records and they look in a great place. I think you look forward, take each moment as it comes, stay process-driven and they have every chance of getting there.”

Tickets are on sale now for fans to experience a history-making tournament that aims to unite football and communities and amplify the growth of the women’s game. www.uefa.com/womenseuro/ticketing