England coach Sarina Wiegman believes Leah Williamson is ready to make her long-awaited return in Friday’s Euro 2025 qualifier against Sweden.

Williamson trained on her own on Tuesday after coming off at half-time of Arsenal’s Conti Cup final win over Chelsea on Sunday.

But she trained with the group on Wednesday and if she makes it through Thursday’s session unscathed she will be in contention to make her first international appearance in 12 months as the Lionesses begin their qualification campaign.

She has not featured for her country since suffering an ACL injury last April, having pulled out of a training squad in March with a hamstring strain.

“We need to manage it a little bit. She had a full training session on Wednesday, she will be on the pitch today (Thursday), so that looks really good,” Wiegman said.

“We know where she has come from, she is still building but she is in a good place and she is ready, if she comes through today OK.

“It’s just really good that she is back, first of all for herself because she is so excited to come back, that means she is fit, it is good to have a quality player in the squad.

“We are in a good place already and now we are in an even better place.”

Williamson, who returned to club duty in January, captained the Lionesses to glory in Euro 2022 and Wiegman said she would resume her leadership duties if she was selected at Wembley.

“We have another training session. Leah is our team captain – that will not change, but we want to get through this training session first and then see what final decision we make tomorrow,” the Dutchwoman added.

“If she plays, she would be captain, we just want to get through the training session and see how she is and how the team is. She needs that team environment from where she has come.”

Wiegman was asked for her opinion on Emma Hayes’ confrontation with Gunners counterpart Jonas Eidevall after that final at Molineux.

The Chelsea boss said after the game that male aggression was a problem in the women’s game, but Wiegman did not bite.

“It was a great final, very competitive, so the emotion builds up,” she said.

“I haven’t been there in that situation so I really don’t want to comment about that one day before the most important game in a couple of months for us.”

Leah Williamson is part of the England squad for next month’s Euro 2025 qualifiers against Sweden and the Republic of Ireland.

The Arsenal defender returned to the international fold in February for the first time in nine months having recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, but subsequently had to withdraw before friendlies against Austria and Italy due to a hamstring issue.

Chelsea’s Fran Kirby is also back, having missed the games in February after pulling up in the pre-Austria warm-up with a knee problem, while club mate Millie Bright remains out injured.

Maya Le Tissier misses out, with fellow Manchester United defender Millie Turner retaining her spot after being a late call-up in February, replacing Williamson, and making her debut against Italy.

Euro 2022 winners England open their bid to qualify for next summer’s tournament in Switzerland by facing Sweden at Wembley a week on Friday before continuing their Group A3 matches against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin four days later. The pool also features France.

Boss Sarina Wiegman, who saw her side beat Austria 7-2 and Italy 5-1 in last month’s games, said in a statement from the Football Association: “There’s no time to waste.

“February’s window showed who we are and where we want to go and we’ll look to continue that momentum from the minute we arrive at St. George’s Park next week.

“We know it’s a challenging group, but it’s really exciting. These are all big games that will test us and that’s the kind of fixtures we want to play in.

“Every opponent we face is a top nation and we know we have to perform at our best to achieve our goals. We’ll be ready for Sweden at Wembley.

“Wembley has been the home of some of our biggest moments together and it holds such special memories. It’s no coincidence that we feel inspired when we play there. The fans have provided such fantastic support every time and there’s no doubt they can help us again against Sweden.”

Portugal made light work of Sweden to seal an 11th straight victory with a 5-2 win in Thursday's friendly.

Roberto Martinez's team did not let up after Rafael Leao lashed them ahead in the 24th minute, with Matheus Nunes and Bruno Fernandes putting them three to the good by half-time.

Bruma made matters worse for Sweden before in-form Sporting CP forward Viktor Gyokeres netted at the other end, albeit that goal should have been disallowed for offside.

Goncalo Ramos rounded off Portugal's rout just after the hour, though Gustaf Nilsson did grab another consolation for Sweden in the final stages.

Leao's strike was just his fourth for the Selecao, with the winger hitting his shot sweetly after controlling the rebound from Bernardo Silva's effort off the woodwork.

Portugal's control was cemented just after the half-hour mark, as Silva set up his Manchester City team-mate Nunes for a composed finish from outside the box.

Sweden were punished for more slack defending on the stroke of half-time – Fernandes left free in the six-yard box to power a shot high into the back of the net, taking his international tally to 20 goals.

The hosts started the second half with the same intensity, and Fernandes' pressure paid off when he blocked a clearance and set Bruma up for a tap-in. Just 91 seconds later, Gyokeres pulled one back for Sweden from an offside position, but with no VAR, the goal stood.

Ramos restored Portugal's four-goal lead shortly after, with his eighth goal in 10 international appearances adding further gloss to another fine win under Martinez, though Nilsson – who had earlier tested Rui Patricio with an audacious attempt – ensured Sweden had the final word.

No Ronaldo, no problem

Portugal were without their biggest star in Guimaraes, with Cristiano Ronaldo the most notable absence from the team sheet. But it is not like they struggled without the 39-year-old.

The Selecao have scored 36 goals in their perfect Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, the most of any nation during that time, and they clocked up another five with ease.

Perhaps even more pleasing to their coach, the goals were spread among his midfield and forward line, with Bruma also coming off the bench to make an impact.

They might have gone under the radar, but Portugal could be the ones to watch in Germany come June.

Tomasson's big changes fail to pay off

After playing in a rigid 4-4-2 formation under Janne Andersson, Sweden deployed a more attacking set-up under Jon Dahl Tomasson on Thursday, with Newcastle United star Alexander Isak playing behind Gyokeres, who is thriving in Portugal this season.

It showed the promise of paying off in the second half, with Gyokeres getting his goal just before the hour-mark, but by then it was already too late for them to mount a real comeback, and Nilsson's effort did nothing more than restore a tad more pride.

Three of Portugal's goals were simple tap-ins, with the Selecao's scorers left with an empty net to aim for, and that slack defending will frustrate Tomasson. 

Sweden midfielder Kristoffer Olsson is on a ventilator in hospital after collapsing at home due to a brain condition, his club Midtjylland have announced.

The 28-year-old, who had a spell at Arsenal as a teenager, has not appeared for the Danish club since December and there had been mounting speculation over his absence.

Midtjylland said in a statement on their official website: “In view of the increasing rumours and speculation that are circulating about the reason for Kristoffer Olsson’s absence in the recent period, we are forced to make this announcement to the public.

“The 28-year-old Swedish international lost consciousness in his home on Tuesday 20 February and was transferred to Aarhus University Hospital, where he has been admitted and on a ventilator.

“Kristoffer Olsson is affected by an apparently acute disease related to the brain, which is not caused by self-harm of any kind, nor is the cause due to external factors.

“A team of Denmark’s leading medical experts is currently working hard to make a diagnosis and initiate the right treatment.”

Midtjylland called for “respect and understanding” and added: “Everyone at FC Midtjylland is of course deeply affected by Kristoffer’s sudden illness and our thoughts and full support go to Kristoffer and his family.”

Arsenal wished Olsson, who has won 47 caps for his country, a “full and speedy recovery” on social media.

Olsson joined the Gunners from Swedish side Norrkoping aged 16 and made one senior appearance as a substitute in a League Cup game against West Brom.

He is currently in his second permanent spell with Midtjylland and has also had stints at AIK, Krasnodar and Anderlecht.

John Tavares set up two goals and scored one of his own with 5:33 remaining to complete the Toronto Maple Leafs’ comeback in a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday at the NHL’s Global Series in Sweden.

Toronto entered the third period down 2-0 but Tyler Bertuzzi scored at 3:50 and William Nylander netted the equalizer with 6:57 left before Tavares’ seventh goal of the season 1:24 later gave the Maple Leafs their first lead of the game.

Nylander also had a goal and two assists to extend his franchise-record season-opening point streak to 16 games.

Ilya Samsonov made 27 saves as Toronto won its third straight and fourth in five games.

Daniel Sprong scored on a penalty shot and Lucas Raymond had the other goal for Detroit, which dropped to 1-2-2 in its last five.

The game was the second of four over five days at Avicii Arena in Stockholm. Ottawa beat Detroit on Thursday, and Minnesota will play the Senators on Saturday and the Maple Leafs on Sunday in the first four-team series outside North America.

Perfetti scores again as Jets win

Cole Perfetti scored in a fifth straight game and the Winnipeg Jets held off the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2.

Mason Appleton and Nikolaj Ehlers had the other goals and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 25 shots as Winnipeg notched its fifth win in six games.

Alex Tuch and JJ Peterka scored for the Sabres, who have lost three in a row.

Eric Comrie made 15 saves in his first action since suffering a lower-body injury on Oct. 27.

Stolarz the difference in Panthers’ win

Anthony Stolarz stopped 33 shots to make two first-period goals hold up as the Florida Panthers held on for a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Stolarz allowed only Frank Vatrano’s power-play goal in the second period before turning away all 16 Anaheim shots in the third period.

Jakob Silfverberg thought he scored the tying goal midway through the third period, but there was no conclusive evidence to show that the puck crossed the goal line.

Anton Lundell set up goals by Eetu Luostarinen and Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the first period as Florida rebounded from Thursday’s loss to Los Angeles and won for the sixth time in seven games.

Tim Stutzle batted a puck out of mid-air with two seconds left in overtime to lift the Ottawa Senators to a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday in the opening game of the NHL’s Global Series in Sweden.

Stutzle also assisted on two goals by Brady Tkachuk and Josh Norris added a goal and an assist to help the Senators recover after squandering a four-goal lead.

The game was the first over four days in Stockholm as part of the Global Series.

Ottawa, Detroit, Minnesota and Toronto are involved in the first such series outside North America. It marks the NHL’s return to Sweden for the first time since before the pandemic.

Shayne Gostisbehere scored a goal and set up two others for the Red Wings, who have lost three of four.


Short-handed Devils cool Penguins

Jesper Bratt, Alexander Holtz and Tyler Toffoli scored third-period goals as the undermanned New Jersey Devils snapped the Pittsburgh Penguins’ five-game winning streak, 5-2.

New Jersey ended a three-game skid and defeated Pittsburgh for the sixth straight time despite missing forwards Timo Meier, Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes.

Curtis Lazer had a short-handed goal and an assist to reach 100 career points for the Devils.

Bryan Rust scored twice for the Penguins and Sidney Crosby had an assist to extend his point streak to 10 games.

Crosby became the 15th player in league history with 11 point streaks of at least 10 games.


Kings snap Panthers’ 5-game streak

Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist and Cam Talbot turned aside 30 shots in the Los Angeles Kings’ 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers, who had a five-game winning streak halted.

Anze Kopitar scored on the power play as the Kings won at home for just the second time in eight games.

Sam Reinhart scored in his third straight game, but Florida was held to its lowest scoring output since being shut out at Minnesota in its season opener.

Sweden defender Victor Lindelof has said he was “lost for words for the cruelty and inhumanity” after two fans were shot dead before Monday evening’s Euro 2024 qualifier in Belgium.

The match in Brussels was abandoned at half-time with the score at 1-1 after two Swedish supporters were killed and another injured three miles from the King Baudouin Stadium.

The gunman, reported to be a 45-year-old Tunisian national, was shot dead by police in a Brussels suburb on Tuesday morning.


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Manchester United centre-half Lindelof said on Instagram: “I’m shocked and devastated by the terrible incidents in Brussels with the cold-hearted attacks on our fellow Swedes.

“I’m lost for words for the cruelty and inhumanity, I want to send my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those affected.

“At the same time, my thoughts go out to all the supporters in Belgium last night, no one should ever go to a game of football and feel unsafe when supporting their team.”

The Swedish Football Association on Monday evening urged supporters to stay in the stadium on police advice “for security reasons” and co-operate with the authorities on site.


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Fans were kept in the stadium for more than two hours before a message on the stadium screen asked them to leave “calmly”.

The Sweden men’s national team posted on Instagram on Tuesday: “Swedish football has sadness – Sweden has sadness.

“Yesterday we tragically lost two blue-yellow supporters, on the spot in Brussels to do something that should be obvious – to support our Swedish national teams wearing the blue-yellow national team shirt.

“Our thoughts go out to all loved ones of the victims, who today are forced to wake up to an indescribable sadness.


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“We are also thinking of all your supporters on site in Brussels. We know that you, like us, were afraid and worried. Yet you remained calm and followed the instructions that were called out from the speakers.

“We will never forget those who fell victims of this senseless attack. Take care of each other.”

Tottenham midfielder Dejan Kulusevski linked to the team statement in his Instagram Stories, alongside a broken heart emoji.

The Belgium team said on social media: “We are still devastated by what happened in our capital on Monday.

“We want to thank all the fans and stewards in the stadium for their understanding and support in these difficult circumstances.

“Our thoughts are with the Swedish, we hope everyone gets home safely.”

Sweden manager Janne Andersson said the players had asked for the game to be abandoned when they heard about the shooting.

“I felt it was completely unreal,” he told a press conference. “What kind of world do we live in today? I was supposed to have a good chat with the players but I heard it and almost started crying.

“When the team started talking, we agreed 100 per cent that we didn’t want to play on out of respect for the victims and their families.”

UEFA said “a moment of silence” would be observed at all Tuesday night’s Euro 2024 qualifiers in memory of the victims.

Sweden joined Spain’s players in a show of solidarity before Mariona Caldentey’s stoppage-time penalty gave the world champions a 3-2 Women’s Nations League victory as the scandal surrounding Spanish football rumbled on.

The two sets of players held a banner carrying the phrase “Se acabo” – meaning “it’s over” in English – as well as “our fight is the global fight” before the game in Gothenburg.

The game, a rematch of the World Cup semi-final, was Spain’s first outing since they beat England 1-0 to become world champions in August.

After the final, then president of the Spanish football federation (RFEF) Luis Rubiales kissed forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the post-match celebrations. Hermoso said the kiss was not consensual, subsequently filing a legal complaint, and the incident has plunged the RFEF into crisis.

Both Rubiales and World Cup-winning manager Jorge Vilda have already left their posts, and even after kick-off on Friday the federation announced on social media that director of integrity Miguel Garcia Caba has also been axed.

Spain’s players had threatened a boycott of this fixture, only calling that off on Wednesday after reaching an agreement with the federation, and their disrupted build-up perhaps showed as they fell behind in the 23rd minute when Magdalena Eriksson scored following a Sweden corner.

But Athenea del Castillo levelled seven minutes before the break, and Spain led when substitute Eva Navarro scored in the 77th minute, moments after she had replaced Del Castillo.

Lina Hurtig levelled for Sweden eight minutes from time but Spain had the final say in a dramatic finish.

Amanda Ilestedt brought down Amaiur Sarriegi in the box and, after the Sweden defender was sent off, Caldentey dispatched the penalty to seal the three points.

Women’s world champions Spain have been plunged into further chaos after players refused call-ups to their latest squad.

Fifteen World Cup winners were included in the squad for the Nations League games against Sweden and Switzerland, despite saying they would boycott international duty.

A group of 81 players, including all 23 members of the World Cup squad, indicated three weeks ago that they would not play for Spain again while Luis Rubiales remained Spanish football federation (RFEF) president as a result of his behaviour at the final.

Rubiales caused a huge controversy after kissing midfielder Jenni Hermoso – who has been left out of the latest squad – on the lips during the medal ceremony following the team’s 1-0 victory over England. Hermoso insists she did not consent to the kiss.

Amid increasing pressure, Rubiales finally resigned from his post last week, but 39 players, including 21 World Cup winners, released a statement on Friday saying that was not enough to trigger their return to national-team duty.

The players said they were not yet “in a safe place” to return and that the problems at the RFEF ran far deeper than Rubiales.

However, despite their pledge to boycott, many were still named in Monday’s squad by new head coach Montse Tome, who said Hermoso had been left out for her own protection.

In response, the players released a statement on Monday night which read: “What was expressed in our statement of September 22, 2023, makes clear and without any option for another interpretation our firm will not to be summoned for justified reasons. These statements are still fully valid.

“During the days following that statement, we want to make it known to the public that nothing different has been transmitted to any member of the RFEF, so we expressly ask that the information transmitted publicly be rigorous.

“As elite professional players and after everything that has happened today, we will study the possible legal consequences to which the RFEF exposes us by putting us on a list from which we had asked not to be called for reasons already explained publicly and in more detail to the RFEF, and with this make the best decision for our future and for our health.

“It does seem relevant to us to point out, in this sense, that the call has not been made in a timely manner, in accordance with article 3.2 of annex one of FIFA’s regulations on the status and transfer of players, so we understand that the RFEF is not in a position to require us to go.”

New head coach Tome said Spain were still “counting on” Hermoso, despite her omission from their first squad since lifting the World Cup.

“We stand with Jenni,” she told a press conference. “We believe that the best way to protect her is like this, but we are counting on Jenni.

“It’s the start of a new phase, the clock is ticking. There is nothing behind us and we really want to connect with these players.”

Rubiales has been banned from going within 200 metres of Hermoso as the national court in Madrid considered a complaint of sexual assault, something the 46-year-old denies.

Tome had been due to name her squad on Friday, but the announcement had to be delayed.

Barcelona’s Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro, who were not included in Spain’s World Cup party after signing a letter protesting against former manager Jorge Vilda, who was sacked during the fallout of Rubiales’ actions, were included in Monday’s squad.

Little over 24 hours after his final ride in a British Classic, Frankie Dettori will be in big-race action at Bro Park as the next leg of his farewell tour takes him to Sweden.

The Italian, who is set to retire at the end of the year, is no stranger to racing in Scandinavia and looks to continue the hot streak of British-based riders in the feature Stockholm Cup International – a race won by Pat Cosgrave the last three years and by Dettori’s great friend Rab Havlin (2019) and Fran Berry (2018) before that.

Officials in Sweden are delighted to have the 52-year-old stopping off in Stockholm during his final season in the saddle and have already seen the ‘Dettori factor’ increase media interest in Bro Park’s key afternoon of racing.

“We are obviously happy that Frankie Dettori is coming over and that Sweden and Bro Park is a part of his farewell tour. It is a big thing for a small country like Sweden,” said Dennis Madsen, Head of Racing at the Swedish Racing Authority, Svensk Galopp.

“He has been here before and rode in the Stockholm Cup in 1996 on a Godolphin horse and visited the old Taby Park again about 10 years ago. So we are familiar with Frankie, but it is still a big thing and we have been delighted to be able to use him in the promotion of this raceday.

“He has already boosted the coverage in the media. Frankie is a big name in other countries and although racing is not a big sport in Sweden, he has managed to capture good media coverage over here and we are very excited for him coming.”

Dettori has secured the mount of defending Stockholm Cup International champion Hard One To Please and the four-year-old, who won the Swedish Derby in 2021, returns to Bro Park on the back of an easy victory in a Norwegian Group Three last time.

Despite happy with the condition of her charge heading into the contest, trainer Annike Bye Hansen admitted she is extremely nervous leading up to the big occasion.

She said: “I’m not really looking forward to it to be honest, I will be relieved when it is over. That is me, I get very nervous, I always get like this coming up to big racedays like this.

“I’m very happy with the horse and he looks ready to rock and roll, so it’s game on.

“The race is not a walk in the park, the French horse is good and Ayani won the Swedish Derby and we don’t know how good he is.

“We won it last year, but last year it was weaker. But saying that I think Hard One To Please has improved from last year as well.”

Dettori tasted glory when riding in Hungary earlier this month, but if he is to add another global prize to his CV then Hard One To Please will have to see off a strong cast which includes Christophe Ferland’s French challenger Big Call and British raider Outbox, who will be partnered by Hollie Doyle.

Archie Watson’s eight-year-old is a regular visitor to Bro Park and as well as going down by a nose to Hard One To Please in the Stockholm Cup International 12 months ago, also picked up the silver medal in 2021.

“He was beaten by a very good horse two years ago and was then narrowly beaten last year by a horse who runs against him again on Sunday, so the owners are looking forward to another bold show,” said Cosmo Charlton, head racing manager for owners Hambleton Racing.

“It’s an exciting trip over and we’ve had successful raids over there in the past. We’ve got some owners going out and we’re always very well looked after.

“Outbox is a horse who owes us nothing, we paid 16,000 guineas for him and he’s earnt I think over £600,000 in prize-money for us.

“He’s an old horse now but was a really good second at Newmarket earlier the season proving he retains plenty of his old ability. A reproduction of that type of form would see him go close I would have thought.”

Hambleton Racing recorded a double at Bro Park on this card in 2022 and will also be represented in the Bro Park Sprint Championship by Kevin Ryan’s Washington Heights as the operation attempts to replicate that success.

Sweden struck in either half to retain their World Cup best of the rest status with victory over co-hosts Australia in the third-place play-off.

A Fridolina Rolfo penalty and fine Kosovare Asllani strike secured a 2-0 win for Sweden, who never looked in danger of losing to the home favourites in Brisbane.

Peter Gerhardsson’s side responded magnificently to their last-minute semi-final exit at the hands of Spain, outclassing Australia to win the third-place play-off for the fourth time in their history.

Sweden started quickly and set out their stall early on as Arsenal forward Stina Blackstenius got in on goal within the opening two minutes, her low shot turned away by Mackenzie Arnold.

Just as the hosts looked to be getting a foothold in the game, Sweden would take the lead as a penalty was awarded following a lengthy VAR review of Clare Hunt’s trip of Blackstenius’ trailing leg.

Rolfo, who scored the winner when the two nations met in the 2020 Olympics semi-finals, made no mistake from the spot with Arnold beaten despite diving the right way.

Sweden came close to doubling their lead in first-half stoppage time but a fine low save from Arnold kept out a Filippa Angeldahl strike that flashed through a crowded penalty area.

Having beaten England to finish third four years ago in France, Sweden all-but secured another bronze medal as they widened the margin just after the hour.

A pacey counter-attack saw Blackstenius shake off the attentions of the Australia defence before squaring for Asllani to hit one of the goals of the tournament, beating Arnold with a strike from the edge of the box.

Any hopes that Australia could launch an unlikely comeback suffered a blow when captain Sam Kerr hobbled off for treatment on her foot.

The Chelsea striker suffered a calf injury on the eve of the finals, dampening her impact as she was not fit enough to start a game until the semi-final loss to England.

She returned to the pitch but, by that stage, Sweden were in control of the tie and left the home fans cheering a valiant effort from Australia, who had to settle for fourth place.

Spain progressed into the final of a Women’s World Cup for the first time in their history with a 2-1 victory over Sweden.

Jorge Vilda’s side will face England on Sunday after the Lionesses earned a 3-1 over Australia on Wednesday.

Here the PA news agency looks at Spain’s route to the final.

Solid start ended emphatically by Japan

Spain cruised through their opening two group games, with a 3-0 win over Costa Rica followed by a 5-0 drubbing of Zambia which safely secured a passage through to the knockout stages. But, in their final group game came a surprise 4-0 loss to Japan, with three first-half goals preceding Mina Tanaka’s 82nd-minute effort. After eight goals in two games, conceding none, few would have predicted such a comprehensive loss for Spain in their final group game. The defeat prompted changes, the most notable of which was goalkeeper Cata Coll replacing Misa Rodriguez.

Switzerland brushed aside

Switzerland next up looked a tougher challenge but they were no match for the Spaniards, who scored five on their way to victory. Aitana Bonmati’s opener five minutes into the contest was cancelled out in unbelievable fashion when Laia Codina’s backpass rifled past Coll to make it 1-1. But Spain’s procession resumed with three more first-half goals, with Alba Redondo and Bonmati breaking through, before Codina put one into the right net. Jennifer Hermoso added a fifth to secure victory in style.

Extra-time for Netherlands

The quarter-finals threw up a tricky tie against the Netherlands, who had scored 11 goals prior to this game, and Spain had to work to ensure their place in the semi-finals for the first time in their history. Dominating possession and attempts, Spain battered down the Dutch door and looked like they had their all-important winner in the 81st minute when Mariona Caldente scored from the penalty spot after a handball VAR review. However, Stefanie van der Gragt’s equaliser in stoppage time sent the game to extra time, during which Salma Paralluelo secured their place in the last four in stunning fashion.

Late heartbreak for Sweden

Sweden, who earlier knocked out reigning and defending champions United States came into the semi-final with all the momentum but that did not deter Spain as a game of few big chances sparked to light in the final 10 minutes. Vilda’s team found the opener in the 81st minute through Paralluelo’s drilled effort from close range but Sweden thought they had sent the game to extra-time when Rebecka Blomqvist expertly finished past Coll to make it 1-1 in the 88th minute. However, just one minute later, Spain regained their advantage as Olga Carmona rifled Spain into the final.

England head coach Sarina Wiegman and Spain boss Jorge Vilda will lead their teams into the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney on Sunday.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the two coaches.

Dutch courage brings England Euro joy

Having guided her native Netherlands to success at Euro 2017 and then on into final of the 2019 World Cup, where they lost to the United States, Wiegman took over the Lionesses in September 2021. Wiegman – a former captain of the Dutch national team during her playing career and also having a spell as a PE teacher – went on to lead England to Euro 2022 glory on home soil with victory over Germany at Wembley last summer. The only defeat so far of Wiegman’s tenure came in a friendly against Australia at Brentford in April – and England fans will be hoping that impressive run is extended again on Sunday.

Vilda steadies ship after player unrest

Vilda had spells in the youth set-ups at both Real Madrid and Barcelona, but saw his dreams of a playing career cut short by two major knee injuries when he was 17. Having moved into a coaching role at CD Canillas in Madrid, Vilda held assistant roles with Spain’s Under-17s and Under-19s, enjoying success in their European Championship and World Cup campaigns. He was appointed senior head coach of the women’s national team in 2015, taking them into the Euro 2017 quarter-finals and also the World Cup, where they reached the last 16. Following Euro 2022, where La Roja were beaten by hosts England in the quarter-finals, a group of 15 players threatened to quit if Vilda remained in his position, claiming his regime was affecting their “health” and “emotional state”. He, though, was backed by the Spanish Football Federation, with the players subsequently frozen out of his squad, before some returned to the fold for the World Cup, including Aitana Bonmati, Ona Batlle and Mariona Caldentey.

Same again for Lionesses?

Wiegman named an unchanged side for the 3-1 semi-final win over against Australia. Her faith proved well-founded as England stepped up to the challenge of restricting the counter-attack threat of the Matildas, although there was little the well-drilled defence could do to prevent Sam Kerr crashing in a fine 25-yard equaliser. England had plenty of possession against Australia, particularly in the first half, and will certainly need to show similar bravery in their challenges against the Spaniards. Some ruthless finishing saw Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo all on the scoresheet on Tuesday – and more of the same will be needed in the final when clear chances are expected to be at a premium. Chelsea forward Lauren James will be available again following a two-game ban following her red card in the last-16 win over Nigeria, handing a potential selection headache for Wiegman.

La Roja’s own ‘Total Football’

Vilda grew up steeped in Johan Cruyff’s football philosophy, with his father Angel having worked as the late Dutchman’s fitness trainer at Barcelona. Based around a 4-3-3 possession-based game, Vilda wants his team to play with a distinctly recognisable style. That belief never waivered as Spain bounced back from a 4-0 humbling by Group C winners Japan to thrash Switzerland 5-1 as they booked a place in the last eight, then went on to beat the Netherlands after extra-time before defeating Sweden in Auckland. England should expect to face high-tempo passing and movement as well as a relentless press in attack. Alexia Putellas, twice a Ballon d’Or winner, continues to be used sparingly in the tournament, having worked her way back from an ACL injury which ruled her out of Euro 2022. Teenager Salma Paralluelo came off the bench to open the scoring in the semi-final against Sweden and the 19-year-old will be out to prove herself the woman for the big occasion once more if given another opportunity by Vilda on Sunday.

The dust has settled on Saturday’s remaining two quarter-finals and attention is now turning to the last four.

Spain, Sweden, England and Australia are the four remaining teams, meaning there will be a new name on the trophy in next Sunday’s final.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the day Down Under.

Bronze says England are ready for gold

Defender Lucy Bronze revealed England would have failed to live up to their own expectations had they not reached the World Cup semi-finals.

The Lionnesses saw off Colombia in Saturday’s quarter-final to set up Wednesday’s last-four meeting with co-hosts Australia.

Third place would see England equal their best-ever finish from eight years ago in Canada, but Bronze insisted reaching this stage for the third time in the European champions’ history was the bare minimum.

“If we hadn’t have got to the semi-final, I would have said that we would have underperformed,” said Bronze.

“A lot of people said that England were the team that were going to flop a little bit. Our performances haven’t been our best, granted, but the results have been there and we’ve got to the semi-final, which is what this England team is known for doing.

“I think the difference with this team is we have won trophies, we have won tournaments, so we do know what to do.”

Quote of the dayIlestedt laughs off Golden Boot talk

Sweden defender Amanda Ilestedt took her tally to four goals when she scored in the quarter-final win over Japan.

It took her just one behind current leader Hinata Miyazawa, who is no longer in the tournament, so she has a real chance of claiming the Golden Boot. Not bad for a centre-half.

She has downplayed her chances of finishing as top scorer, though, and just wants her team to do well.

She said on FIFA’s website: “I don’t know. I can’t even believe I’m even talking about this. I’m a defender.

“I find it funny. But as long as the team keep winning, I’m happy. It doesn’t matter who scores.”

Picture of the dayPost of the dayWhat’s next?

Semi-final: Spain v Sweden, Auckland, Tuesday 10am
Semi-final: Australia v England, Sydney, Wednesday 11am

Reigning champions the United States were knocked out of the Women’s World Cup after the VAR intervened in a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Sweden.

Lina Hurtig’s winning penalty was found to have crossed the line following a check with the VAR officials after USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher appeared to have saved the effort.

Replays showed the ball had just crossed the line and Sweden were able to celebrate a 5-4 win on penalties after a goalless draw in the last-16 clash in Melbourne.

The back-to-back defending champions led 3-2 in the shoot-out but misses by Megan Rapinoe and Sophia Smith opened the door for Sweden to take it to sudden death.

Goalkeeper Naeher scored for the United States but with their next effort Kelley O’Hara hit the right post to give Hurtig the chance to win it.

Her shot was blocked by Naeher, who then reached behind her to claw the ball away as it looped up in the air, but she was a fraction too late to stop Sweden moving on to the quarter-finals.

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