One of England’s toughest tasks tonight will be to stop the great Aitana Bonmati controlling the tempo of the game. She’s been speaking to Sid Lowe about the game.
“There may be 11 Lionesses on the pitch,” says Peter Oh, “but in a potentially ominous development, Spain has a lion (Leon).”
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at that.
The Fiver’s big-match preview
Here’s Karen Carney on Spain’s strengths (and weaknesses)
As expected, Olga Carmona and Marta Cardona come into the Spain team. So do a couple of their Real Madrid teammates, Teresa Abelleira and Esther Gonzalez.
Lela Ouahabi, Athenea del Castillo, Lucia Garcia and Sheila Garcia are the players left out. I’m slightly surprised that Athenea has been dropped as she was good against Denmark.
Spain (possible 4-1-2-3) Panos; Batlle, Paredes, Leon, Carmona; Patri; Bonmati, Abelleira; Cardona, Gonzalez, Mariona.
Substitutes: Gallardo, Rodriguez, Aleixandri, Andres, Guerrero, Del Castillo, Sarriegi, Ouahabi, L Garcia, Pereira, S Garcia, Pina.
As expected, Sarina Wiegman has named the same XI for the fourth consecutive game at this tournament.
England (4-1-2-3) Earps; Bronze, Bright, Williamson, Daly; Walsh; Stanway, Kirby; Mead, White, Hemp.
Substitutes: Greenwood, Carter, Scott, Parris, Kelly, England, Toone, Roebuck, Wubben-Moy, Russo.
Jonathan Liew’s match preview
“Quick question from an ex-pat living in Norway,” says Brendan Large. “How is the atmosphere around the country in terms of the tournament? Does it compare to the lads last year? I really hope the buzz is as big as I hope it is.”
I live in Orkney, where, I’ll be honest, it’s not the talk of the toon. But everything I’ve read and listened to suggests that women’s football has never been more popular in England. Not in our lifetime, anyway. The difference between this year and Euro 2005, when the brilliant Georgina Turner was one of the few people in England giving the tournament the coverage it deserved, is enormous.
Early team news
England are expected to be unchanged, though there is a case for bringing in Jill Scott for Fran Kirby to add more protection in midfield. I’m overthinking it, aren’t I.
Spain are likely to make changes from the side that beat Denmark in their Group B decider. The only goal in that game was scored and made by two substitutes, Marta Cardona and the superb left-back Olga Carmona. Don’t be surprised if they start. There’s also a chance that Laia Aleixandri will return to the midfield so that Mariona Caldentey can switch to the left wing.
This is a huge boost for England: Sarina Wiegman, who missed the Northern Ireland game because of Covid isolation, will be on the touchline tonight.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Euro 2022 quarter-final between England and Spain at the Amex Stadium in Brighton. This is where
stuff gets real for England. Thrillingly, terrifyingly real. After cavorting through Group A, England – the team, and the country – must now experience the exquisite torture of the knockout stages.
It’s all part of the risky pact that was made when the FA applied to stage what was then Euro 2021. Hosting increases your chances of winning a tournament, but should you fail, the pain will be so much greater. It’s not the despair, Laura…
At every major tournament the hosts provide a uniquely fascinating story, even more so when they have a realistic chance of going the distance. It’s the time of their life, an emotional crescendo of hope, expectation, joy, fear and Sweet Caroline. But once the knockout stages begin, there is always the danger that the music will suddenly stop.
Tonight, either England will move within two games of immortality, or we’ll find out the answer to one of life’s most haunting questions: what tearjerking song will the BBC use to soundtrack their England exit montage?
The Euro 2022 draw meant England were always going to face a difficult quarter-final. Spain are formidable opponents, even if they are not the same without the injured Alexia Putellas and Jenni Hermoso. A month ago Spain were favourites to win the tournament; now, after labouring through an admittedly difficult group, they are fifth on that list.
England can really hurt Spain in transition, especially now that temperatures have dropped to a humane 19C. But they will need to leave their ego in the dressing-room, because they are likely to spend large parts of the game without the ball.
That doesn’t have to be a problem. Indeed, there’s an argument that it’s the best template for an England victory. Germany beat Spain 2-0 in the group stage despite having only 30 per cent of the possession. And England won by a similar score at Euro 2017 even though Spain had the ball for 78 per cent of the match.
England won’t fear Spain, but then the feeling’s mutual. When you keep the ball better than any team in the world, you develop a bulletproof confidence. Spain don’t care about what happened in the group stage, especially as England were rarely under pressure in those games. This is the real quiz.
I could prattle on about gegenpressing v tiki-taka, about Lucy Bronze coming up against her new Barcelona teammates, about the Manchester derby between Lauren Hemp and Ona Batlle, about Ellen White being one short of Wayne Rooney’s England goalscoring record. But a game like this doesn’t need a never-ending preview: it’s a European Championship quarter-final between the hosts and the pre-tournament favourites. That’s it. That’s the preamble.
The winners will play Sweden or Belgium in the semi-final at Bramall Lane next Tuesday. How are the nerves? No, it’s not too early for that. I mean, maybe for the top shelf, but you do what you have to do. Nights like this don’t come around too often.
Kick off 8pm BST.