Euro 2022: England won’t fear Sweden, says former Lionesses forward Kelly Smith

22 July 2022 0 By Total Football News

England won't fear Sweden, says former England forward Kelly Smith, after they needed a last-minute goal to defeat Belgium in the Euro 2022 quarter-finals.

"England are looking at this thinking we can take this Sweden side," said Smith on BBC Two.

"They've won the game, but they haven't impressed me tonight."

The world number two side will play England in the semi-final on Tuesday at Bramall Lane in Sheffield.

Coming into the match against Belgium as strong favourites, Sweden had 33 attempts on goal, eight of which were on target while Stina Blackstenius had an early goal chalked off for offside before Linda Sembrant's 92nd-minute winner saw them through.

Belgium were dogged in defence and worked tirelessly to quell Sweden's press, but Smith said Sweden, who wasted chance after chance, lacked "cutting edge" in the final third.

"England will be very happy with what they've seen tonight because Sweden don't look clinical in front of goal - I wasn't impressed with the creativity and the dimensions up front. It's just not clicking for them," she added.

Reading striker Natasha Dowie, who was part of BBC Radio 5 Live's coverage, suggested England will have what it takes to overcome the Olympic silver medallists, who will have two days fewer to prepare than the Lionesses.

"Sweden need to find a second gear if they are going to compete with England because England look much stronger - they will be confident.

"Compare the England game against Spain, the quality and difference between the two games is massive. The game tonight was pretty boring, lacking in quality and slow. You expect more from Sweden," she said.

England game will be 'totally different'

Everton midfielder Izzy Christiansen, who was alongside Dowie on BBC Radio 5 Live, said Sweden have got "a lot of work to do" to be able to compete with Sarina Wiegman's Lionesses.

"The way England can play out from the back, with Keira Walsh and Leah Williamson, England will carve through them if they press like that again.

"Sweden need their bigger players to turn up against England. The backline need to sharpen up against Beth Mead and Lauren Hemp," she said.

But Sweden were without key players Hanna Glas and Emma Kullberg as well as captain Caroline Seger, who was consigned to the bench with a heel injury.

Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall, part of the punditry team on BBC Two, said he was surprised at the lack of changes from Sweden manager Peter Gerhardsson and said Seger "must not be fit" after she didn't even appear as a substitute.

He agreed with Smith that it was not an impressive Sweden performance, but said that the game against the Lionesses will be "totally different".

"England are the team that will try and be attacking and create, and that fits Sweden better. The games so far have not fitted Sweden so well with the way they play," he said.

"The wide players that England have - Mead, Hemp and Chloe Kelly - you can't allow them to get this much space, so I think Sweden will use three central defenders to always give back-up to the wing-backs.

"It's going to be a very different game - they will have to be really solid defensively and have enough numbers to play out from England's press, because England will press a lot more than Belgium did today."

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