Report: NWSL will expand to San Francisco, Utah and Boston
Utah will be rejoining the league.
The four group-stage winners at the UEFA Women’s Euro prevailed in their quarterfinals to set up a pair of intriguing semifinal matchups.
Host England will take on Sweden on Tuesday at Bramall Lane, while Germany will face off against France on Wednesday at Stadium MK.
All four teams have fielded impressive performances so far, and each semifinalist can make its case as the favorite heading into the final week of competition.
Playing on home soil, England is eager to bring home a trophy in front of a friendly crowd. Acting as hosts has benefits and drawbacks, with the Lionesses enjoying overwhelming support but also facing a great deal of pressure.
While England showed its vulnerabilities in the team’s 2-1 quarterfinal win over Spain, the comeback victory should give the Lionesses confidence heading into the semifinals. The squad’s grit and proven ability to pull out a win against the run of play will likely buoy the English side as the hosts gear up to face Sweden.
England boasts impressive attacking depth, with Beth Mead leading the tournament’s scorers, logging five goals and three assists.
Alessia Russo has also been stellar off the bench for the Lionesses, notching three goals as relief for starter Ellen White. With attacking threats all over the pitch, including Georgia Stanway, Lauren Hemp and Fran Kirby, England has a range of options in the final third.
England has also been dangerous off the bench, with Ella Toone and Chloe Kelly joining Russo on an impressive reserve lineup.
Organized under coach Sarina Wiegman, England has the talent and home-field advantage to secure its most consequential trophy in decades.
Sweden is out for redemption after a heartbreaking silver-medal run during last summer’s Olympics.
Despite a slow start to the Euros, the Swedes dug deep to secure a 1-0 quarterfinal win behind a thrilling stoppage-time goal.
With key defenders Hanna Glas, Emma Kullberg and Jonna Andersson out of the quarterfinal due to positive COVID-19 tests, Sweden persevered despite being short-sided. Should the squad get its defensive lineup back in full ahead of the semifinal, Sweden will be in a much better position to halt England’s humming offense.
Most of Sweden’s Euro matchups to date have featured compact backlines, with the squad tasked with breaking down a variety of low-to-mid blocks. England, however, will be on the attack, presenting Sweden with an opportunity to get out in transition and find space in the final third.
Germany enters its semifinal against France with a clean sheet as the only remaining team yet to concede a goal.
With 11 total goals, Germany’s offense is also firing on all cylinders behind a commanding showing from Alexandra Popp. The 31-year-old has logged four goals through four matchups, while midfielder Lina Magull pulls the strings at the center of the pitch.
Germany has never lost to semifinal opponent France in a major tournament and has taken home the Euro trophy in seven of the last nine editions of the tournament.
Adept on both sides of the ball, Germany looks to be the most well-rounded squad heading into the home stretch.
Germany find their footing through Magull to take a 1-0 lead 💫 pic.twitter.com/mVJgSpRrL9— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 21, 2022
France has forged ahead despite losing marquee player Marie-Antoinette Katoto to injury during the team’s group-stage match against Belgium.
Kadidiatou Diani has stepped up in Katoto’s absence, putting opponents’ backline under sweltering pressure. While Les Bleus have faced adversity, the team is motivated to overcome its obstacles. The 2022 tournament marks France’s Euro semifinal debut, where Le Bleus will face Germany, a team they have yet to beat in four major contests.
With its reserves fielding stellar performances, France may just have the tenacity to pull off the win.
Utah will be rejoining the league.
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