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26th Jul 2022

England reach Euros final after audacious goal from Alessia Russo

Callum Boyle

England have reached the final of Euro 2022 with an emphatic win

Alessia Russo scored the cheekiest – yet most spectacular – goal of the tournament as England cruised past Sweden to reach the final of Euro 2022. Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl had a night to forget, and Ian Wright captured where it went wrong for the World No.2.

Sarina Wiegman’s side had an early scare as Sweden hit the bar 10 minutes in. Stina Blackstenius rose highest from a corner in the six-yard box which came back off the edge of the bar.

The Lionesses recovered from their sluggish start to take control of the game and struck the first blow shortly after the half-hour mark as Beth Mead gave England the lead.

Mead was given far too much space and time to control a cross into the box before firing past the goalkeeper to score her sixth goal of the tournament and give the hosts the first advantage.

England got their second half off to the perfect start as Lucy Bronze’s header doubled their advantage just three minutes after the restart.

Bronze – who joined Barcelona from Manchester City this summer – directed her header downwards to find the bottom corner. A brief delay checked to see if Lauren Hemp was offside and interfering play in the build up to the goal, but VAR confirmed the goal would stand.

England Sweden Euro 2022

Ian Wright sums it up about Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl

England could have gone 3-0 up after a teasing ball into the box of Mead found Hemp, however she couldn’t convert from close range and slammed her effort against the crossbar.

Any feint hopes of a Sweden comeback were left dead and buried as Wiegman’s side did find a third after Russo’ audacious effort all-but-confirmed the win for Wiegman’s side.

A well-worked piece of possession led to a shot on goal from Russo after latching onto the end of Frank Kirby’s cross. After her initial effort was saved, the substitute produced one of the most audacious bits of skill to nutmeg two Swedes with a backheel:

Kirby had been one of the standout performers on the night and her performance led to her getting a well-deserved goal and England’s fourth.

A great through ball found the Chelsea star, who tried to dink the Sweden ‘keeper. Although Hedvig Lindahl got a hand to the effort, it wasn’t enough to deflect it away from the goal as the Lionesses won in an emphatic style. Following the game, former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright said:

“Lindahl was poor tonight… no question about it, she’s been really poor.”

‘We’ve got to make sure they are able to play and get the opportunity’

As the BBC dissected the action on a rousing night at Bramall Lane, both Ian Wright and England legend Alex Scott couldn’t hide their emotions and pride at the performance.

Wright in particular stressed the importance that this game will have for the long-term future of women’s football and called for schools to give women the chance to be allowed to play football from a young age, regardless of how the result turns out on Sunday.

“Whatever happens in the final, if girls are not allowed to play football just like the boys can in their PE after this tournament, then what are we doing?” he said.

“We’ve got to make sure they are able to play and get the opportunity because this because this is going to inspire a lot of people.

“If there’s no legacy to all this, then what are we doing? This is as proud as I’ve ever felt of any England side. This is what it’s about.”

England will play the winner of Germany and France on Sunday at Wembley Stadium, where it is expected to be a full-capacity crowd, on Sunday.

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