Sweden beat Belgium to set up semifinal duel with England
Sports Desk, Jul 22 (EFE).- Extra time loomed Friday as Belgium and Sweden entered the 93rd minute of their Women’s Euro 2022 quarterfinal deadlocked 0-0, but Linda Sembrant produced a winner to put the 2021 Olympic silver medalists in next week’s semifinal against tournament hosts England.
The Scandinavians outshot the Belgians 33-3 and should have won comfortably, but Red Flames goalkeeper Nicky Evrard made some fine stops, while the Swedes squandered chances and had a goal disallowed by VAR.
Stina Blackstenius, a familiar figure in England as a member of the Arsenal women’s squad, inexplicably faltered in the 10th minute when the rebound fell to her after Evrard blocked a strike by Amanda Ilestedt.
Nathalie Bjorn fired over the cross-bar in the 23rd, three minutes before Blackstenius appeared to put Sweden ahead, only to see the goal disallowed after VAR detected an offside.
Playing in their first major quarterfinal, the Belgians displayed unexpected poise, especially in their own end, and managed to create danger the few times they penetrated the offensive zone.
Evrard continued to shine in the second half and the Belgian attack improved with the addition of sub Elena Dhont, who put the ball in the side netting on a chance in the 83rd minute.
The match was seconds away from extra time when Sweden took their 13th corner of the night.
Evrard punched away the kick from Kosovare Asllani and the ball dropped for Nathalie Bjorn, whose shot the Belgian keeper turned aside, but Sembrant was there to push the rebound across the line.