Fran Kirby and England batter Magdalena Eriksson and Sweden, 4-0
In the first semifinal, Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses cranked the “It’s Coming Home” up to eleven as they ran riot over #2 in the world, Sweden. The first twenty minutes did little to predict this result, as the Swedes found plenty of space and opportunity behind Lucy Bronze but were unable to capitalize.
Sweden’s plan seemed to be to not let Manchester City’s Keira Walsh influence the game from midfield, so Fran Kirby took over those duties. Kirby pulled the strings as England’s attack began to overwhelm the Swedish defense. Unfortunately, current blue Magdalena Eriksson and former blues Jonna Andersson and goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl were on the wrong end of a coming out party.
The goalfest was capped by the one and only Fran Kirby, courtesy of some trademark Fran Kirbying. A hastily cleared interception from a throw-in fell to an England boot for a first-time through ball between defenders, and Kirby pounced. Once at the ball, she spotted Lindahl off her line and went for a low chip. The former Chelsea keeper swatted at it with two hands but the velocity continued to carry it toward goal and in.
Kirby’s goal was insult to injury as the goal before that was a devilish backheel nutmeg finish from Alessia Russo. If that’s not the goal of the tournament, then whatever is will be scored in the final and I cannot wait.
Fran Kirby chips the goalkeeper to make it four pic.twitter.com/TkrF912ZE4— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 26, 2022
Germany outlast France, 2-1
The second semifinal was a clash between Chelsea keeper Ann-Katrin Berger’s Germany and incoming signing Ève Périsset’s France. The former remained on the bench as Merle Frohms has hardly put an outstretched leg or padded glove wrong, however Périsset once again got the start at right back.
France’s attack did all they could from the wings, but without star forward Marie-Antoinette Katoto due to a torn ACL in the group stages they struggled to finish the chances they were able to create. Compounding the issue was the pre-tournament choice of French manager Corinne Diacre to leave out Amandine Henry. As a result, France couldn’t control or build through midfield, making them one-dimensional in the buildup phase.
However, the story of the day was Alexandra Popp. To be honest, she may be the individual story of the tournament. Popp is 31-years-old and playing in her first EUROS thanks to a variety of cruelly timed injuries. She’s making up for it by scoring in every single game, including the two goals that sent Germany to the final.
England vs. Germany, Sunday, July 31, 12pm ET/5pm BST on ESPN & BBC One
As matchups go, this is one of the best the tournament could have delivered. England have been on an unholy tear throughout the tournament, but so has Germany. Weigman has shown a propensity to be able to identify and solve problems on the fly, and the collection of players has proved adaptable enough to execute on the fly as well. Germany manager Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has also been sharp tactically, and has instituted the best (read: most wicked) high press in the tournament by far.
If England are to go on to make that annoying song true, all they’ll have to do is defeat the seven-time EUROS champions. Whether they can or can’t, given each team’s form, it’s gonna be a banger.