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England Routs Sweden to Seal Place in Euro 2022 Final

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As a substitute, it waited for its opportunity, taking the lead through Beth Mead, the tournament’s leading scorer, a little bit after half an hour. Which may, for a distinct team, have been the cue to take a seat back, to hunch its shoulders and grit its teeth. But that shouldn’t be Wiegman’s way, and so it shouldn’t be England’s, either.

At halftime, the stadium announcer declared that, “as things stand, England goes to the ultimate.” It felt just a little bit hubristic, the kind of pronouncement that may come to be seen as a source of regret, though not for long. Inside 4 minutes of the beginning of the second half, Lucy Bronze had doubled the lead, her header drifting achingly slowly past Lindahl’s dive.

That goal would, in hindsight, have been enough, but on the time it was not, not enough to make certain. Only with Russo’s improvisational, instinctive brilliance could the gang — could the players — calm down. Just a few minutes later, Fran Kirby, England’s creative heartbeat, ran through on goal. She, too, was in considered one of the largest games of her profession. She, too, knew this was serious.

But still she selected the indulgent option, lofting a fragile, arcing chip just beyond Lindahl’s grasp, deflecting off her gloves into the online behind her. It was the kind of thing a player tries once they are, despite the situation by which they find themselves, having fun.

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