Sweden needed an injury time goal from centre-back Linda Sembrant in order to beat a stubborn Belgium side and reach the semi-finals of Euro 2022.
The Red Flames put up one hell of a fight and dug in deep to frustrate the tournament favourites, but were undone at the death and the Blagult will now face England in the last four next week.
Belgium began brightly and with confidence, but the first chance went Sweden’s way when Filippa Angeldal’s 20-yard strike forced Nicky Evrard into a stretching save.
A mistake at the back by Laura Deloose allowed Angldal another chance to score, but this time her shot sailed narrowly over.
Sweden’s early pressure continued when Amanda Ilestedt’s header was parried by Evrard, and Stina Blackstenius was unable to control the rebound from mere yards out and Belgium just about cleared their lines.
Nathalie Bjorn was next to fire over after an Amanda Nilden corner fell kindly to her at the far post, before Sweden thought they had taken the lead through Blackstenius moments later after Kosovare Asllani pierced the Belgian defence with a delicate through ball on the counter attack. However, a lengthy VAR check revealed that the Arsenal forward was offside and the goal was chalked off.
Justine Vanhaevermaet lashed a shot wide at the other end as the Red Flames looked to hit Sweden on the break, while Evrard had to be alert to keep Blackstenius out from point-blank range again following a dangerous corner.
Just after the half-time break, Evrard held her ground to hold a Fridolina Rolfo volley, and another header from Ilestedt rattled the bar again – though this time an offside flag was raised.
Sweden maintained their pressure throughout the second half but found it tough breaking down Belgium’s deeper defensive unit.
Blackstenius was again thwarted by Evrard when she punched away her header from just yards out once more, while Belgium missed a huge chance to go in front when Tine De Caigny failed to advance towards goal when only faced with Hedvig Lindahl.
Substitute Elena Dhont lashed a speculative shot into the side netting as the game opened up in the dying stages.
But Belgium hearts were broken as extra-time was looming when Sembrant poked home following a scramble from a corner to set up a mouthwatering clash with England in Sheffield in the semi-finals.
GK: Hedvig Lindahl – 6/10 – Her distribution was excellent, while she was rarely troubled.
RB: Amanda Ilestedt – 7/10 – Got forward with real intent and was arguably more threatening than Rytting Kaneryd.
CB: Linda Sembrant – 7/10 – Caught dawdling on occasion but not too much. Scored a well-earned winner.
CB: Magdalena Eriksson – 7/10 – Largely solid at the back after an early scare.
LB: Amanda Nilden – 6/10 – Not as busy as Ilestedt at either end.
CM: Filippa Angeldal – 7/10 – Continually caused problems for Belgium in the final third.
CM: Kosovare Asllani – 9/10 – A genius. Often created chances out of thin air and danced her way across the pitch.
CM: Nathalie Bjorn – 6/10 – Wasn’t as industrious as her midfield partners.
RW: Johanna Rytting Kaneryd – 6/10 – Supported attacks but was scarcely the protagonist of them.
CF: Stina Blackstenius – 7/10 – A constant menace for the Belgian backline. Unlucky that her goal didn’t stand.
LW: Fridolina Rolfo – 7/10 – Played a backseat role to Asllani’s runs forward in the first half but was involved much more after the break.
SUB: Hanna Bennison (84′, CM for Angeldal) – 6/10
GK: Nicky Evrard – 9/10 – Routinely came to the rescue for the Red Flames. Hard to believe she’s only a semi-professional player and rents out bouncy castles in her spare time.
RB: Laura Deloose – 4/10 – Often caught in possession and was fortunate not to be directly punished.
CB: Sari Kees – 6/10 – Tried to limit Asllani and Angeldal to shots from distance.
CB: Laura De Neve – 7/10 – An impressive performance from the Anderlecht defender, sweeping up and playing from the back.
LB: Davina Philtjens – 7/10 – Used her experience well to slow Sweden’s right side down. Would have been suspended for the semi-final after picking up a booking.
CM: Julie Biesmans – 5/10 – Booked for a cynical foul on Asllani. Grew into the game after that but remained in the wars.
CM: Justine Vanhaevermaet – 7/10 – Quite clearly has an imposing presence and that should have been utilised even more.
CM: Marie Minnaert – 5/10 – Carved out some of Belgium’s best chances.
RW: Tine De Caigny – 4/10 – Provided very little.
CF: Tessa Wullaert – 5/10 – Was often isolated wherever she found herself in Belgium’s fluid attack but was a useful focal point.
LW: Janice Cayman – 4/10 – Should probably have helped a bit more going the other way. Eventually was forced to when shifted to right-back.
SUB: Elena Dhont (67′, RW for Deloose) – 6/10
SUB: Kassandra Missipo (88′, CM for Biesmans) – 5/10