We had to wait for the very start of added time on Friday to see Sweden finally break through the valiant Belgian defense (1-0) and qualify for the semi-finals of the Women’s Euro football where they will challenge England.
Qualified for the first time in their history, and for their second participation in the Euro only, for the quarters, the Belgians painfully continued their learning of the very high level with this defeat in extremis.
The epilogue may well be the one expected in this most unbalanced quarter-final of all, between the Swedes, world No.2 in the FIFA rankings, behind the United States, and the 19th in the world, the scenario is cruel for the “Flames Rouges” who, with their resources, but with panache, were able to dream of a feat for more than 90 minutes.
They tried to use the ball as well as possible, building up their passing, which allowed them to have balanced possession and not chase the ball too much.
However, the match was one-sided with 16 shots to 1 for the yellow and blue at the break and 34-3 at the end of the match.
The reigning Olympic vice champions, deprived of their captain Caroline Seger, hit in the heel, had also thought they had found the fault from the 24th minute by Stina Blackstenius, launched in the back of the defense and who had cheated with blood -cold Nicky Evrard.
– Belgians with their heads held high –
But as too often with men, the VAR identified an offside of a few millimeters from the elbow of the Arsenal striker to justify a cancellation of the goal.
Blackstenius was also not varnished on this match, seeing Evrard make a superb reflex save on a close range header (74th).
From the 6th minute, a strike from Filippa Angeldal had already been brilliantly deflected by the Belgian door, who was voted best player of the match, even if that will probably not console her much.
Because, while we were playing the second of three minutes of additional time in the second half, and Belgium thought they had offered themselves 30 more minutes of hope, everything collapsed.
On a badly cleared corner, the ball returned to central defender Linda Sembrant who catapulted it into the back of the net (1-0, 90+2).
Prostrate at the final whistle, a few seconds later, the Belgians left with their heads held high after coming out second in the group won by France under the nose and beard of the Icelanders and the Italians.
The Swedes remain an enigma in this tournament. Capable of developing a good game, their lack of realism could cost them against England on Tuesday in Sheffield.
At home, the Lionesses will certainly not want to miss the opportunity to afford a final at Wembley on July 31, and even a first major title in the country since the 1966 World Cup won by men.