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Match Report

Lionesses opening Euro's qualifier ends with a draw

England and Sweden share the points in flat Wembley clash

Gareth Taylor Man City_edited.jpg


6 April 2024

England started their qualifying campaign for UEFA Euro 2025 with a 1-1 draw against Sweden. 

Alessia Russo’s first half header was cancelled out by Fridolina Rolfo, as both sides huffed and puffed, but couldn’t find a winner. 

England start their European Championship Defence on the same soil that Chloe Kelly secured immortality just under three years ago, facing Sweden, who they famously beat in the semi final of that historic run. 

Grace Clinton was handed her first competitive start for England following her impressive showing in the February Friendlies, with there also being starts for Lotte Wubben-Moy after her stellar club form for Arsenal recently, with Southampton keeper, Kayla Rendell in an England squad for the first time, and Leah Williamson also making her return to the squad since her ACL injury against Australia last year. 

There were familiar faces aplenty for Sweden tonight, with Women’s Super League quartet, Stina Blackstenius, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, Filippa Angeldahl and Julia Zigioti Olme joining Barcelona’s Fridolina Rolfo in the starting eleven. Tottenham Hotspur duo Amanda Nilden and Matilda Vinberg, along with Chelsea goalkeeper Zecira Musovic made the bench for the visitors. 

After two impeccably served national anthems, Sweden got there game underway in balmy spring conditions at Wembley. 

Alessia Russo went down early on following a robust challenge from a Swedish defender which required a prolonged period of medical attention, with the resulting free kick bouncing to Grace Clinton, who’s left footed volley went over the Swedish bar. 

The two Laurens, James and Hemp were occupying the wing space for England early on and the Chelsea forward sprayed a lovely pass to her Man City namesake, but her cross was just over the head of Alessia Russo and collected well by Sweden goalkeeper, Jennifer Falk.

Sweden had the first sight of goal and it was Barcelona winger, Fridolina Rolfo raced through in behind her club teammate Lucy Bronze and struck a left footed effort wide of the target. 

England made no mistake with their first chance of the game, as Lauren James faced up Aqwswn right back Hanna Lundkvist before teasing a ball across with Alessia Russo stooped to nod home and erase any nerves within Wembley. 

The hosts almost had a second soon after as Georgia Stanway robbed possession before her effort went harmlessly over the Sweden bar, 

Lucy Bronze was then attentive to a Sweden attack as she cut out a through ball from Stina Blackstenius which seemed destined for Chelsea’s Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, The Swedes came forward again and Fillipa Angeldahl sent an effort whistling over Mary Earps’ crossbar, 

The visitors were having a period of sustained pressure, forcing corners in quick succession and almost grabbing a calamitous equaliser after an attempted clearance from Alex Greenwood smashed back off her teammate and luckily for England, fell wide. Stina Blackstenius then just couldn’t reach a cutback from the right as England were being forced to camp in their own area due to the Swedish pressure. 


The hosts were able to weather the Sweden storm and head into the break with a slender one goal margin. 

Half Time - England 1-0 Sweden. 

England got the game back underway in the second half, with Sweden’s Johanna Rytting Kaneryd having the first effort of the second period, but her long range sighter flew way over Mary Earps’ crossbar. 

A Lauren James corner was then delivered in towards Lotte Wubben-Moy, but her looping header was an easy hold for Sweden stopper Falk. 

The provider nearly turned goalscorer just after the hour mark as her left footed effort arrowed just past the post.

Sarina Wegmann made her first change, bringing on Ella Toone in place of Grace Clinton, with her opposite number introducing Amanda Nilden and Rosa Kafaji to proceedings, 

Sweden had their leveller just after the hour, as Rolfo ghosted in at the far post to nod home, potentially aided via a deflection off of Lucy Bronze to bring the visitors level. 

Somehow the visitors didn’t take the lead just moments later as Blackstenius raced through, but her effort beat Mary Earps and the right hand post much to the relief of everyone inside Wembley. Beth Mead was then introduced for England, in place of Lauren James. 

Jess Carter and Chloe Kelly were introduced in place of Alessia Russo and Niamh Charles with just under a quarter of the game remaining. 

England seemed to lack the presence and positioning of a recognised striker even with Alessia Russo on the pitch, so her withdrawal put emphasis on Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp and latterly, Chloe Kelly to get into those spaces.

Sweden goalscorer Rolfo and Blackstenius were withdrawn in the final five minutes, for Madeleen Janogy and Anna Anvegard.

Lauren Hemp almost answered the call perfectly, darting onto the end of a pass before seeing her first effort saved, before her second was blocked off the line by former Chelsea defender, Magda Ericsson, which proved to be the last meaningful action. 

Full Time - England 1-1 Sweden


Alessia Russo 24’

Fridolina Rolfo 64’

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