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UEFA Women's EURO: Players to watch in the semi-finals

We pick out a key talent from each of the semi-finalists who could inspire their teams to Wembley.

Georgia Stanway, Stina Blackstenius, Kadidiatou Diani and Alex Popp
Georgia Stanway, Stina Blackstenius, Kadidiatou Diani and Alex Popp UEFA

England play Sweden in Sheffield on Tuesday then Germany meet France in Milton Keynes on Wednesday for places in Sunday's UEFA Women's EURO 2022 final at Wembley.

We pick out one player from each team who could star in the last four.

Georgia Stanway (England)

Stanway on Old Trafford occasion

Stanway was nominated for the BBC's Young Sports Personality of the Year award in 2016 after her performances for England in the UEFA Women's U17 EURO and FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, and again starred in the 2018 U-20 Women's World Cup. Stanway's normal position is attacking midfield or even forward, but for England she is one of two defensive midfielders, alongside her former Manchester City clubmate Keira Walsh.

Signed by Bayern München just before these finals, the energetic Stanway put in a Player of the Match performance against Austria in the opener at Old Trafford. However, it was in extra time in the last-eight tie with Spain that she really wrote headlines, with a trademark run and long-range winner that showed whatever position she is played in, her attacking instinct remains strong.

Stina Blackstenius (Sweden)

All Sweden's goals

Blackstenius came into these finals off the back of a superb first half-season as an Arsenal player, but was also struggling with injury. Her brilliant finish in the last group game against Portugal showed she was getting fully up to speed and in the quarter-final meeting with Belgium she menaced the Red Flames for long periods, thwarted only by an offside flag and some inspired Nicky Evrard goalkeeping.

Blackstenius has long relished the very biggest occasions. At the 2016 Olympics, she scored in the shock defeat of the United States in the quarter-finals, and again at the Maracanã in the gold-medal match against Germany. She was on target in the final against Canada five years later as Sweden again took silver. She also scored winners in both the round of 16 and quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup, versus future and past Olympic nemeses Canada and Germany. Can she silence the home crowd in Sheffield?

Alex Popp (Germany)

Popp on group heroics

Just playing at this Women's EURO is a significant achievement for Germany stalwart Popp, who missed the 2013 and 2017 final tournaments through injury (she would have missed these finals too had they happened as scheduled in 2021). The emotion showed after she came off the bench against Denmark to score the final goal in Germany's 4-0 opening win.

She has gone from strength to strength since; she has broken into the starting XI and has scored in all four of Germany's games in England, becoming the first player to register in four successive games at a single Women's EURO (her compatriot Heidi Mohr did it across three tournaments in the days of four-team knockout finals). An all-action, inspiring presence, Popp is driving her team towards claiming one of the very few major honours she hasn't already won.

Kadidiatou Diani (France)

My EURO in one word: Diani and Matéo

With her Paris Saint-Germain colleague Marie-Antoinette Katoto ruled out of the tournament through injury, Diani is forging on as the effective spearhead of the France attack. Tellingly, she was moved from her right-hand berth to centre forward during the quarter-final against the Netherlands as Corinne Diacre looked to break down the stubborn holders.

Fast and skilful, Diani is always willing to take on defenders and turn a seemingly unpromising situation into a clear chance for herself or a teammate. The sight of the 27-year-old in full flight, her flowing hair following slightly behind, is as thrilling for spectators as it is ominous for opponents.