Fran Kirby insists England are ready to end the Lionesses’ semis hoodoo by knocking Sweden out to reach Euros final


FRAN KIRBY believes England’s current stars are ready to get over their tournament semis hoodoo by knocking Sweden out to reach the Euros final.

But the Lionesses playmaker is refusing to get carried away with dreams of lifting the trophy, with the hosts facing a tough test at Bramall Lane on Tuesday.

Englang will battle Peter Gerhardsson’s side for a place in a sold-out Wembley final against France or record eight-time Euros winners Germany.

And Kirby hopes the team can overcome a huge semis hurdle having suffered heartbreak at this stage in the 2017 contest, and under Phil Neville at the 2019 World Cup.

Kirby said: “I don’t want to be another player that loses in another semi-final and doesn’t get to a final of a major tournament with England.

“I wouldn’t say we are too focused on it but it’s something that we all want to achieve and that’s always been the talk from the beginning.

“But we know that firstly, we have to win in the semi-final. We can’t focus on getting to the final until we have beaten Sweden. It’s not going to be an easy game.”

Sweden, whose team includes Chelsea skipper Magda Eriksson and Arsenal striker Stina Blackstenius, have won three of their last six matches against the Lionesses going back to June 2005.

Victories include a 2-1 third-place play-off defeat of England – then coached by former boss Neville – at the 2019 World Cup in France.

Kirby, who scored for the Lionesses in that game, was also on the scoresheet the last time the hosts dispatched their Swedish opponents back in August 2014.

And she is very familiar with the threat posed by some of their senior players including skipper Caroline Seger.

Kirby added: “Caroline Seger has got so much experience and she’s led that team to multiple medals, tournament finals and semi-finals. She’s the one that makes the team tick and glue together.

“And then there is Kosovare Asllani with the quality she has on the ball with the chances she creates.

“If they are a doubt to play then it’s great for us, but not great for everyone else watching as they bring amazing qualities to the game that everyone wants to watch.

We can’t focus on getting to the final until we have beaten Sweden – Fran Kirby

“Sweden are the highest ranked team left in the tournament and they’ve done amazingly well to get to this point of a semi-final.

“Like us, they didn’t get past the semis of the last World Cup. But we’re not allowing any pressure to come into us [and our camp] from the outside.”

England’s 8-0 thrashing of Norway and battling 2-1 quarters defeat of Spain has seen expectations of a Lioness trophy win rise amongst fans and commentators.

However, Kirby, who has netted 16 times in 60 senior international appearances, is keeping her feet firmly on the ground when it comes to dreams of winning the contest.

The England star added: “To be honest, I’ve not thought about it, I’m quite cool and calm.

“I wouldn’t say getting classified as a good team you have to win a trophy. But for us, now, we know what our ambitions are, and we want to get there.”

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