Sweden and the Netherlands joined England and the United States in the semi-final bracket of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup after winning their respective last-eight ties on Saturday. The Netherlands beat Italy 2-0, while Sweden progressed after upsetting Germany 2-1.
Repeating the trick against the Netherlands won't be easy, given the quality in the Dutch ranks. Vivianne Miedema and Arsenal teammate Danielle van de Donk lead a team perfectly combining power with technique, a blend good enough to send the Oranje to the final.
It's a similar story for defending champions the U.S., who should have too much strength for England. The Lionesses have excelled on Phil Neville's watch, but overcoming the holders' experience will prove one obstacle too many.
Tuesday, July 2
England vs. U.S.: 9 p.m. local time, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET (1-3)
Wednesday, July 3
Netherlands vs. Sweden: 9 p.m. local time, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET (2-1)
USA and Netherlands Set to Meet in the Final
Taking chances when it counts has been the hallmark of the U.S. at this tournament. It's not unfair to say Jill Ellis' team was run ragged by hosts France during the quarter-final on Friday, but a ruthless forward line made the difference in a 2-1 win.
Megan Rapinoe scored twice to add to her brace from the penalty spot against Spain in the last 16.
Rapinoe has been providing the finishing touches to moves after defences have been worn out by Alex Morgan. Her pace and power will cause England more than a few problems, especially in tandem with Tobin Heath's eye for a pass.
Expect Morgan and Rapinoe to get on the scoresheet for the U.S., who can also call on Carli Lloyd and Christen Press for reinforcements along the forward line. At least one may be needed given the output of England's attack, with Ellen White the obvious danger.
Match-winners up front aren't in short supply for a Netherlands team benefiting from Miedema's goalscoring brilliance. The PFA Women's Player of the Year is the focal point of this enterprising team going forward.
Miedema's timing and intelligent use of space punished a well-organised Italy defence and can do the same to Sweden:
Her glancing header in the quarter-final was the 22-year-old's 61st goal for her country. It also showed how the Netherlands are prepared to go direct and exploit a height advantage from set pieces.
A corner met by defender Stefanie van der Gragt yielded the second Dutch goal on Saturday, underlining their considerable aerial threat.
Sweden's defence didn't have to deal with the same problem against a Germany side more comfortable with keeping the ball on the deck. The Netherlands are a more versatile outfit, though, and will find a way to scrape a narrow win and book a place in the final.