France 2019: All set for semi-final

The French city of Lyon will be buzzing on Tuesday and Wednesday as the semifinalists of the ongoing FIFA Women’s World cup battle for tickets to the grand finale.

The final four were concluded on Saturday when Sweden stunned Germany to set up a semi-final clash with the Netherlands.

The Dutch had earlier on beaten Italy to reach the last four for the first time.

Wednesday’s all-European semi-final clash would be the first ever semi-final for Netherlands and the fourth semi-final for Sweden as both countries battle for pride and the all-important grand finale ticket.

The Swedes are buoyed by the fact that they defeated Germany – and ended a 24-year wait for a win over the two-time champions while the Dutch, who are champions of Europe, had earlier qualified for the last four for the first time thanks to soaring second-half headers from Vivianne Miedema and Stefanie van der Gragt, ending Italy's impressive run.

But before the all-European clash, England will attempt to end the American dominance in the women’s game as they clash for the other semi-final on Tuesday.

The Lionesses of England have four straight clean sheets in the competition while the USWNT have scored 22 goals in the competition.

Even though USA have reached the FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-finals eight times in eight attempts and have equaled the FIFA Women’s World Cup record of ten successive victories, set by Norway between 1995 and ’99, and the tournament record of 15 games undefeated, set by Germany between 2003 and 2011, with their 2-1 win over France, their English nemesis are simply not perturbed.

England captain Steph Houghton said she and her colleague will take a lot of confidence from their previous performances.

“We’ve just kept a clean sheet and beaten a very good Norway team by three goals, and it could have been by five or six, so we will take the positives”.

Ellen White seems to concur with her captain’s opinion on the titanic USA clash. “They’re obviously world champions, they’re number one in the world, it’s the biggest game for us, and we have to do everything we can possibly do”.
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