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Euros - Football: Sweden v Belgium preview

Sweden and Belgium compete for a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2022 in Leigh on Friday night as the knockout stage of the tournament continues.

A tussle with tournament hosts England in Sheffield next Tuesday is the prize for the winners, with the Swedes starting as hot-favourites to make the last-four.

What

Sweden v Belgium, Euro 2022 Quarter-Final

Where

Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, England

When

20:00, Friday 22nd July

How to watch

BBC2

Odds

Sweden 3/10, Belgium 9/1, draw 15/4

Sweden expected to progress

Sweden are the hot favourites to progress at 1/7, with underdogs Belgium 9/2 to make it through as the winners of Group C and runners-up of Group D go head-to-head with a last-four place up for grabs.

It's no surprise to see the Swedes as the more fancied side. Peter Gerhardsson's team are unbeaten in England so far, winning two of their three group matches to make it into the quarters, and they will expect to pick up another victory here

to line up a mouth-watering semi-final showdown in Sheffield against hosts England.

After starting with a tight 1-1 draw against reigning European champions the Netherlands, Sweden edged out Switzerland 2-1 in a nervy victory before they rounded off their group campaign with a comprehensive 5-0 rout of Portugal.

Those results suggest they are growing into the tournament and confidence will be high they can get now the better of a Belgian side who were tipped by many beforehand to struggle to get out of their group.

Mixed results for Belgium so far

Ives Serneels' team have arguably exceeded expectations to finish second behind France in Group D with a win, draw and defeat so far, and now comes a huge test against opponents who are ranked second in the world - 17 places above them.

The difficulty of the task facing Belgium is further underlined when looking at Sweden's form over the past year.

The Blue and Yellow are unbeaten in their last 15 games, winning 13 of them, and during that run they have amassed 48 goals. Not only have they been impressive going forward but defensively they have been solid too, conceding just six goals and keeping nine clean sheets.

Sweden are widely regarded as one of the best teams in the world and this tournament may well represent their best chance of becoming European champions for a second time after they won the inaugural women's Euros back in 1984.

Related Euros News

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Portugal rout a warning

The manner of their 5-0 win last time out against Portugal signals the Swedes are peaking at the right time and they have an abundance of quality throughout their squad.

Several of their key players are based in England, including Chelsea defender Magdalena Eriksson, Manchester City midfielder Filippa Angeldahl and Arsenal forward Stina Blackstenius, while striker Kosovare Asllani, who has recently agreed a move to AC Milan, has 44 goals for her country from 164 appearances.

Angeldahl scored two against Portugal, while Blackstenius and Asliani were also on target in the big win, so all three will be looking to add to their tallies on Friday night.

Angeldahl is 3/1 to score anytime in 90 minutes in the quarter-final, Blackstenius is available at 10/11 and Asliani is a tempting 13/10.

Another plus for Sweden is that this clash is being played in the familiar surroundings of the Leigh Sports Village, where they hammered Portugal, and they are again likely to be backed by a big following against Belgium.

It all points to a comfortable success for the Swedes, who are 5/1 to win 2-0 and 12/1 to win 4-0.

Belgium demonstrated against France they can be tricky opponents for the top teams when they only lost that match 2-1, either side of a 1-1 draw against Iceland and vital 1-0 win over Italy in their final group game.

Step up in quality

Belgium have won six of their last 10 games all told, but their form coming into the tournament wasn't great and, tellingly, when they come up against the better sides, they usually lose.

In their four warm-up friendlies, Serneels' side lost 3-0 to hosts England and 1-0 to Austria but beat minnows Northern Ireland 4-1 and Luxembourg 6-1.

Belgium will have been delighted to have got past the group stage in what is only their second appearance at a European Championship, but the last eight looks likely to be where their journey will end.

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