With all the hype swirling around other nations and other matches, the Netherlands and Sweden have trodden a lower-profile path to the semi-finals. And that, it seems, is just the way they like it.
Both sides are comfortable in the role of outsiders with the Swedes responsible for the shock of the quarter-finals in beating Germany and the Dutch having prevailed as dark horses at this UEFA Women's EURO. Sweden in fact, were one the sides beaten by Sarina Wiegman's side en route to that historic triumph and a second successive major final - their first at the global showpiece - is now within the Oranjeleeuwinnen's grasp.
The Swedes though, have been buoyed by knockout wins over the heavyweight duo of Canada and Germany, and with three previous semi-finals to the Netherlands' zero, undoubtedly boast the superior FIFA Women’s World Cup™ pedigree.
There will be a lot of familiar battles played out in this semi-final. These sides met in the last eight of the Women's EURO of course, with the Netherlands winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Lieke Martens and Vivianne Miedema. When you look at the Dutch starting XI that day, not much has changed: there were only two different names in the line-up for their most recent World Cup match with Dominique Bloodworth and Merel van Dongen playing instead of Stefanie van der Gragt and Kika van Es. One of the most interesting aspects of this semi-final though, will be to see how the ‘Orange Lionesses’ have changed and developed since 2017 against a tough, defensive Swedish side. With the stakes sky-high, the sides evenly matched and temperatures in France once again expected to reach tropical levels, it is difficult to predict who will book that Final ticket. And we can't wait to find out!
Sweden come into this huge match in very good spirits and high on confidence after their historic win over Germany. That was a win that gave them the feeling that they can now do anything and beat anyone. And Sweden's goal is clear: they want to win this tournament. They will, however, be without a key player in Fridolina Rolfo who is suspended for the match. Fortunately they have a worthy replacement in Lina Hurtig who started against USA and even scored in the win over Thailand. The key for the Swedes will be stopping the impressive Dutch attack and continuing with the approach that worked so successfully against the Germans - through balls and smart runs to get behind the opposition defence.
Additional tickets are on sale for the semi-final between The Netherlands and Sweden in Lyon, on 3 July. Make sure to check the ticketing platform regularly for any updates.
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