The odds for England vs Sweden are supplied by Caesars sportsbook.
These two teams are much more evenly matched than the odds suggest, so the value clearly lies in backing the underdogs to triumph over the hosts.
Back Sweden to beat England (+325) at Caesars sportsbook
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It is fair to say that England did not have everything their own way in their recent quarter-final against Spain. The Lionesses were second best for much of the encounter at the Falmer Stadium. Spain were superior in the first half, passing the ball around with customary coolness as their midfield star Aitana Bonmati controlled the tempo of the game. By contrast, England looked nervous. Perhaps the occasion got to them. Or maybe they were just not at the standard of Spain.
Yet Sarina Wiegman’s side did not let their heads drop. There were more difficult moments to come after the break – none more so than the opening goal of the game, scored by Esther Gonzalez nine minutes after the restart. It would have been easy for England to fold at that point. It was the first goal they had conceded at the Women’s Euro 2022, and the first setback they had suffered. Spain were in full control.
Instead, England dug deep. It took until the 84th minute for them to draw level through Ella Toone, before which Spain had twice gone close to a second goal. Toone’s equalizer sent the game to extra time, and Georgia Stanway’s excellent strike from outside the penalty area gave England the lead in the first period. It was always going to be tough for Spain to come back from that – and they did not manage it.
The group stage was pretty easy for England, and they will have drawn much more confidence and belief from the scrappy victory over Spain than the 8-0 thrashing of Norway or the 5-0 demolition of Northern Ireland. This team is now just two wins away from immortality, as England chase their first ever major trophy in the women’s game.
Spain were the bookmakers’ favorites heading into this tournament, more widely fancied to lift the trophy than either England or Sweden. But that does not mean the Lionesses should underestimate their upcoming opponents. The Swedes are a team on the up having reached the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup and the final of the 2020 Olympics (held in Japan last year). They are now out to take the next step and pick up a piece of silverware.
That is not to say their path to the semi-finals has been completely smooth. A return of seven points from nine in the group stage, and a superior goal difference to the Netherlands, saw Sweden advance in top spot. They were expected to breeze past Belgium with a minimum of fuss in the last eight, but they had to work hard for their victory.
Indeed, the Red Flames were just seconds away from taking Sweden to extra time. It took until the second minute of second-half stoppage time for Peter Gerhardsson’s side to make the breakthrough at Leigh Sports Village, as one of their 32 shots on goal finally went in (Belgium, by way of comparison, had four attempts and none found the target).
Belgium defended with no shortage of spirit and resolve throughout the match, and they came so close to forcing an additional 30 minutes. Sweden were clearly the better team and it was a deserved win, but not an entirely comfortable one.
England are strong favorites to come out on top in this one. The reasons for that are obvious. They were dominant in Group A and then showed another side to their game to get the better of a talented Spain side in the quarter-finals. They will have the backing of the vast majority of fans inside Bramall Lane on Tuesday. And they are, at the very least, the equal of Sweden in a footballing sense.
Yet there is not as much to choose between these two sides as the odds would suggest. Sweden have a fine balance to them and they have the temperament and mentality to not be fazed against the host nation. It is true that Gerhardsson’s charges have not performed to the level they are capable of yet this summer, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Tournaments are primarily about getting the job done: substance over style.
Sweden’s defense will not be easy to prise open and they have sufficient attacking quality to find the net here. The same can be said for England, of course, and Wiegman’s side may be experiencing a sense of destiny given the nature of their success against Spain.
There is little value to be had in tipping the hosts to win this one, though, so instead put some money on Sweden advancing to the final.
|Teams||England vs Sweden|
|Location||Bramall Lane, Sheffield, England|
|Time||Tuesday, 26 July 2022, 3.00PM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN2, fuboTV|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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