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Published 02 April 2024 5 min read
England Women's Senior Team

Match Centre: England v Sweden

Written by:

James Reid

  • A. Russo (24′)
European Qualifiers, UEFA Women's EURO 2025 League A, Group 3
Friday 05 April, 08:00 PM Wembley Stadium
1 1
HT: 1 - 0
  • F. Rolfö (64′)

Preview, live coverage and match report of England Women v Sweden at Wembley Stadium in European Qualifying for UEFA EURO 2025

 Lucy Bronze during the pre-match press conference
Lucy Bronze during the pre-match press conference

The Lionesses kick off their EURO title defence against Sweden on Friday night and Lucy Bronze has already set her sights on ‘becoming a special part of history’ by retaining the trophy in 2025.

No England senior men’s or women’s team has ever retained a World Cup or European Championship and the Lionesses will be looking to do just that in Switzerland in 2025 having lifted the side’s first major trophy at UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.

Bronze became the first English player to win three consecutive Champions Leagues during her time at Lyon between 2017 and 2020 but ‘going back-to-back’ with her country would mean even more.

Bronze said: “Obviously we want to qualify for the EUROs and that is the goal with this campaign. But I think the long-term goal would obviously be to win the tournament.

“We go into every tournament wanting to win it, but that would be a special part of history; to be a team that could potentially go back-to-back in a tournament.

“It's difficult in any tournament, whether it's the Champions League [in club football or not], but it would be a next-level achievement to do that on an international stage.”

Kayla Rendell has been called up to the England senior squad
Kayla Rendell has been called up to the England senior squad

Bronze was speaking alongside England head coach Sarina Wiegman on Thursday during the pre-match press conference for Friday night’s opening UEFA Women’s EURO 2025 qualifier against Sweden at Wembley Stadium connected by EE.

Wiegman started the press conference by revealing that Khiara Keating has returned to Manchester City and been replaced in the squad by Southampton and England WU23s goalkeeper Kayla Rendell.

She said: “We’re doing pretty well [fitness wise]. One player is going out because Kiara went back [to Manchester City]. She came in with some discomfort on her knee so we tried to manage her. But it's not been enough and we're not going to take any risks, so she left and Kayla Rendell is in.”

A number of the early questions focused on the fitness of Leah Williamson.

Williamson returned to the Lionesses squad in February after nine months away with an ACL injury but had to withdraw before the friendlies with Austria and Italy.

The 27-year-old has been featuring regularly for Arsenal but was substituted at half-time against Chelsea on Sunday in The FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup final.

Wiegman said: “We needed to manage her a little bit. She had a full training session yesterday and she'll be on the pitch today, so that looks really good.

“As we know, where she comes from [fitness wise], she is still building, but she is in a good place and ready if she comes through today.”

Wiegman continued: “It's just really good that she's back, first of all, for herself because she was so excited to come back, and it means she is fit.

“So it's good to have another quality player in the squad but I think we were in a good place already and now we're in an even better place.”

Williamson has been England captain for the majority of Wiegman’s reign when fit and the head coach reiterated that was still the case.

She said: “Leah is our team captain. That will not change, but we want to get through this training session first and then see what final decisions we make for tomorrow.”

Wiegman continued: “If she plays, she's the captain. We just want to get through this training session and see how she is and how the team is. She needs that considering where she comes from [fitness wise].”

This will be the first time England have faced Sweden since the unforgettable night in Sheffield when the Lionesses booked their place in the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 final with an emphatic 4-0 win.

It has given fans the chance to reminisce on the impressive performance and THAT goal from Alessia Russo, but the players and staff have not been doing the same.

Wiegman said: “We haven't used that game [in our preparations]. That was then and it was a great moment but we all move on. There have been lots of things that happened in between that period and we're in this new situation now.

“Of course, we know Sweden very well, they know us very well too, so we are preparing based on what we have seen lately from them and what we want to do and how we want to play.”

Sweden are fifth in the world rankings and have a proud history in major tournaments, winning the European Championship in 1984 and finishing as runners-up in 1987, 1995 and 2001.

Their coach Peter Gerhardsson has continued the trend of performing well in major tournaments, reaching at least the semi-finals in all four competitions since taking charge in September 2017.

England and Sweden’s paths have often crossed in tournaments. Sweden defeated the Lionesses on penalties in the first-ever Women’s European Championship final in 1984 and were also victorious in the EURO 1988 semi-finals and the third-place play-off at the 2019 World Cup.

Many of the Sweden squad also call England home, with more than a third of their 2023 World Cup squad playing in the Barclays Women’s Super League at the time of the selection (8).

And Bronze referenced the ‘nice rivalry’ when asked about the EURO 2022 semi-final win.

Bronze said: “Like Sarina said, funnily enough, I don't think we've specifically talked about that game. But I do think there's a nice rivalry between ourselves and Sweden. Even from when I was playing before Sarina was here, we've always had a good rivalry with them in tournaments.

“They are a good team, a strong team, but we're very much focused on what they're like in the here and now.

“The fact that we're at Wembley, I think that's something that we're really excited about, and we want to get all the fans back together following the previous camp when we were in Spain.

“We have the opportunity to play in front of our fans against a good team, so we're very much focused on that game.

“Maybe the fans can kind of feel that moment of the EUROs and think about those moments and hopefully it gets them excited for what's going to happen tomorrow.”

Beth Mead strikes home England's opening goal against Sweden at EURO 2022
Beth Mead strikes home England's opening goal against Sweden at EURO 2022

England v Sweden
European Qualifier, UEFA Women's EURO 2025
8pm BST, Friday 5 April 2024
Live on ITV
Wembley Stadium connected by EE

Sweden in profile

Nickname: Blagult (The Blue and Yellow)
Peter Gerhardsson
Captain: Kosovare Asllani
UEFA Women's EURO best performance: Champions in 1994
FIFA Women's World Cup best performance: Runners-up in 2003
Last encounter: England 4-0 Sweden, 7 July 2022
07 Jul 2022 2:29

Last time out: England 4-0 Sweden

See the best of the action from England's last game against Sweden, in the EURO 2022 semi-final

Match Stats

● England won 4-0 in their last match against Sweden at the 2022 EUROs in the semi-final. The Lionesses have never won consecutive games against the Swedes.

● Since winning eight games in a row against England between 1987 and 2005, Sweden have only won four out of eleven meetings with the Lionesses (D4 L3).

● England have won their last four matches by an aggregate score of 21-5. They last had a longer winning run in 2022 when they won 15 games in a row.

● This is the first time England and Sweden will meet in a European Championship qualifier. The Swedes’ last three competitive games have seen a side score five goals in each match, all in the UEFA Nations League: they lost 5-3 to Spain then won 5-0 twice against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

● England are unbeaten in their last 26 European Championship qualifying matches (W21 D5) since losing 8-0 to Norway back in June 2000. On home soil, they haven’t lost a European Championship qualifier since March 2000, also against Norway (3-0 at Carrow Road).

● This is England’s eleventh match at Wembley – after losing four of their first five at the national stadium (W1) between 1989 and 2019, the Lionesses have won four of their last five at Wembley (D1), including most recently against the Netherlands in December.

● Lauren Hemp has been involved in ten goals in her last eleven appearances for England (seven goals, three assists). Since Sarina Wiegman’s first match in charge, only Beth Mead (43) has more goal involvements than Hemp (18 goals, 15 assists) in that time.

● Lauren James has scored five goals and assisted seven more in her last ten England appearances – across these games, she is averaging a goal or assist every 56 minutes.

07 Aug 2014 4:35

From the archive: England 4-0 Sweden

A look back to our game with Sweden at Hartlepool in August 2014

England Squad News

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Ticket Information

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How to watch or stream

This game will be shown live on ITV in the UK. 

Follow the game live on the day, with our team news, stats and commentary

Sarina Wiegman has made one change to her starting line-up for England’s opening qualifying match for UEFA Women’s EURO 2025 against Sweden.

Lauren James returns to the side in place of Chloe Kelly at Wembley Stadium connected by EE, with Leah Williamson among those on the bench and Keira Walsh captaining the Lionesses once again.

England: 1 Mary Earps (Manchester United), 2 Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), 3 Niamh Charles (Chelsea), 4 Kiera Walsh (Barcelona) ©, 5 Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal), 6 Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), 7 Lauren James (Chelsea), 8 Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), 9 Alessia Russo (Arsenal), 10 Grace Clinton (Tottenham Hotspur on loan from Manchester United), 11 Lauren Hemp (Manchester City)

Substitutes: 12 Jess Carter (Chelsea), 13 Hannah Hampton (Chelsea), 14 Ella Toone (Manchester United), 15 Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 16 Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), 17 Beth Mead (Arsenal), 18 Fran Kirby (Chelsea), 19 Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), 20 Jess Park (Manchester City), 21 Kayla Rendell (Southampton), 22 Esme Morgan (Manchester City), 23 Millie Turner (Manchester United)

Match Line Up

 Alessia Russo heads England in front during the first half
Alessia Russo heads England in front during the first half

England opened their UEFA Women’s EURO 2025 qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw with Sweden at Wembley Stadium connected by EE.

Alessia Russo put the Lionesses ahead midway through the first half when she headed home Lauren James’ cross, but Fridolina Rolfö cancelled that out with a header of her own after the break.

Both sides saw chances to take all three points in front of 63,428 fans in London but both were made to settle for a point each to open their Group A3 accounts.

Sweden made the brighter start at Wembley, with Lotte Wubben-Moy called into action inside two minutes to block a shot from clubmate Stina Blackstenius after Johanna Rytting Kaneryd was released down the right.

England then had their first sight of goal after ten minutes from a free-kick after Russo superbly stole the ball off Magdalena Eriksson before being unceremoniously brought down by the defender.

Russo received lengthy treatment for her troubles, with the resulting free-kick eventually finding Grace Clinton, who could only volley over the bar from inside the box.

Neither side was able to impress themselves on the game but it was Sweden who were able to work the next sight of goal with 20 minutes on the clock, but Rolfö’s shot was narrowly wide of the far post after she was released in plenty of space on the left.

That appeared to spark England into attacking life, Clinton and Lauren Hemp both produced surging runs forward before a dangerous cross from Greenwood was almost prodded home by Niamh Charles.

The Lionesses continued to be on top and they had the breakthrough just a minute later through the head of Russo.

The striker started the move with some excellent hold-up play of the edge of the box to allow Georgia Stanway to release James on the right wing, and the Chelsea forward produced a peach of a cross for Russo to head home from close range.

 Sarina Wiegman made one change to her starting XI versus Sweden, as Lauren James came back into the side
Sarina Wiegman made one change to her starting XI versus Sweden, as Lauren James came back into the side

It was almost two straight after Hemp won the ball in midfield and found Stanway, but her shot from outside the box was off-target.

Sweden looked to hit back immediately and almost did so through Kosovare Asllani who found herself one-on-one in the box with Mary Earps but the Lionesses ‘keeper stood strong to deny her irrespective of the offside flag.

Asllani then went close again for the visitors after a rapid break down field, but her effort was deflected behind by Charles before a dangerous cross from Jonna Andersson was cut out by Greenwood to ensure the Lionesses went in ahead at the break.

The second half started quietly, with Sweden stopper Jennifer Falk not called into action until just before the hour mark, when she comfortably held Lucy Bronze’s header from a corner.

Sweden then levelled five minutes later, as Rolfö headed home at the back post from a cross from substitute Rosa Kafaji after England failed to clear their lines.

 Grace Clinton started once again for the Lionesses
Grace Clinton started once again for the Lionesses

The visitors then missed a gilt-edged chance to take the lead just minutes later as Blackstenius dragged her shot just wide of the post after racing through on goal.

Sarina Wiegman rang the changes as the Lionesses pushed for a winner, with Beth Mead, Chloe Kelly, and Ella Toone all entering the action but the Swedish defence remained resolute.

The best chance to clinch all three points came with just two minutes left on the clock, as Keira Walsh slipped Hemp in behind but her shot was well saved by Falk.

The ‘keeper was called into action again less than a minute later, smartly turning Mead’s shot round the near post and it proved vital as the visitors held on for a share of the spoils.

Match Line Up

England: (4-3-3): 1 Mary Earps (Manchester United), 2 Lucy Bronze (FC Barcelona), 3 Niamh Charles (Chelsea), 4 Keira Walsh (FC Barcelona), 5 Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal), 6 Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), 7 Lauren James (Chelsea), 8 Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), 9 Alessia Russo (Arsenal), 10 Grace Clinton (Tottenham Hotspur on loan from Manchester United), 11 Lauren Hemp (Manchester City)

Substitutes: 14 Ella Toone (Manchester United) for Clinton 57’, 17 Beth Mead (Arsenal) for James 67’, 16 Chloe Kelly (Manchester City) for Russo 79’, 12 Jess Carter (Chelsea) for Charles 79’

Subs not used: 13 Hannah Hampton (Chelsea), 15 Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 18 Fran Kirby (Chelsea), 19 Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), 20 Jess Park (Manchester City), 21 Kayla Rendell (Southampton), 22 Esme Morgan (Manchester City), 23 Millie Turner (Manchester United)

Head Coach: Sarina Wiegman

Goals: Russo 25’

Sweden: (4-3-3): 2 Jonna Andersson, 3 Linda Sembrant, 4 Hanna Lundkvist, 6 Magdalena Eriksson, 9 Kosovare Asllani, 11 Stina Blackstenius, 12 Jennifer Falk, 15 Julia Zigiotti Olme, 16 Filippa Angeldal, 18 Fridolina Rolfö, 19 Johanna Rytting Kaneryd

Substitutes: 5 Amanda Nildén for Andersson 62’, 14 Rosa Kafaji for Asllani 62’, 23 Elin Rubensson for Angeldal 75’, 7 Madelen Janogy for Rolfö 86’, 17 Anna Anvegård for Blackstenius 86’

Subs not used: 1 Zecira Muscovic, 8 Matilda Vinberg, 10 Sofia Jakobsson, 13 Emma Kullberg, 20 Hanna Bennison, 21 Tove Enblom, 22 Josefine Rybrink,

Head Coach: Peter Gerhardsson

Goals: Rolfö 64’