England returned to Wembley for the first time this year in an exciting 1-1 draw with Sweden to start their 2025 European qualifiers.

The breakthrough goal came in the 24th minute when Alessia Russo stooped low to head home from Lauren James’ perfectly placed cross.

England continued to press forward throughout the first half, with both Niamh Charles and Georgia Stanway having opportunities to extend their lead.

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It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Lionesses however, Sweden looked dangerous on a quick break when Johanna Rytting Kaneryd sent a low cross flying into the area, but no yellow shirts were there to tap it home for the equaliser.

Fridolina Rolfö shone for the Swedes, setting up Kosovare Asllani for their best chance of the first half; who’s shot then sailed over the cross-bar.

Second half

It was Rolfö who earnt the equaliser in the 64th minute; young substitute Rosa Kafaji sending a cross flying to the back post for her to head past Earps.

Sweden dominated the second half, Arsenal’s Stina Blackstenius had the opportunity to put her team ahead for the first time when she went clean through, sprinting past club teammate Lotte Wubben-Moy before dragging her shot just wide of the post.

Sloppy passing in midfield from the English allowed Sweden to pick up and drive with the ball throughout the final 45 minutes, making them dangerous on the attack.

Keeper Jennifer Falk helped keep her side in the game with two incredible saves in the dying moments of the match.

First to prevent Lauren Hemp, who was then again denied by captain Magdalena Eriksson, and then secondly to prevent Beth Mead from just inside the 18-yard-box.

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Points apiece at Wembley means England and Sweden now sit second in their qualifying group.

France’s three points in their 1-0 victory sees them take the top spot, while Ireland’s loss to the French puts them in fourth.

The Lionesses travel to Dublin next to face the Republic of Ireland in their final match of this international break.

Sweden will return home to host France and round up this first set of European qualifiers for the group.

Both fixtures are being played on Tuesday 9 April.

Featured image courtesy of Carys Wallace