Former Arsenal and England superstar Rachel Yankey has been speaking to LiveScore ahead of tonight’s massive Euro 2022 semi-final.

On the physical challenge of Sweden…

“In beating Spain, they have now shown they have the character to come back when things aren’t going to plan. Spain had loads and loads of possession, the semi-final with Sweden is going be much more of a physical battle.

The England players will be more used to coming up against the style Sweden play which, fingers crossed, will suit them.

“We are yet to see the best of Peter Gerhardsson’s team. They haven’t shown their quality as of yet in this tournament, which I suppose you could be quite wary of. Hopefully they don’t turn it on against England!

“There are elements to how they’ve played where England will feel quite confident they can exploit if they set up and execute their game plan correctly. If you look at their quarter-final and Belgium actually kept the ball quite well against them. They had attacks and were able to break free. England have got players of a much higher than calibre than Belgium and I think they can look at that game and take a lot of positives.”

On the big role played by Sarina Wiegman

“I said previously that I didn’t think Sarina Wiegman’s potential absence from the Spain game with coronavirus would make too much of a difference, but the fact she was on the bench in Brighton probably played a big part in helping England turn that game around.

“She had those emotions with the players on the field and it probably led her to identify what was going wrong and make those substitutions. It really was those changes that put the game back in England’s favour. It gave them that energy and belief needed to get themselves back in the game.

“A lot of people from the Netherlands have said they have never seen Sarina show the emotion that she did at the final whistle. Maybe it’s something about this team and the home tournament that is changing the way she’s managing as well.”

On Kiera Walsh’s coming of age vs. Spain…

“Keira is really important to how England want to play and she will have learnt a lot from her midfield battle with Aitana Bonmati. She is a world class midfielder for Barcelona and reads the game so well. There was no wonder Keira was getting cramp at the end of the game!”

“She won’t have played against a player like that too many times, she’s started for Man City for several years. But due to being tournament hosts, England haven’t come up against a team like Spain too often. Playing at international level is a lot different to the WSL so that game would have been fantastic for Keira to learn where she is at and how to play that midfield role even better than she already has.”

Rachel Yankey was speaking to LiveScore. To read her full column, click here.