Monday, August 15, 2022

England reach 2022 Women’s Euro final: Alessia Russo scores goal of the tournament in 4-0 rout of Sweden

England defeated Sweden 4-0 on Tuesday in the 2022 Women’s Euro semifinal to advance to Sunday’s final at Wembley Stadium as they await the winner of the Germany-France semifinal on Wednesday. Beth Mead, Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo and Fran Kirby each scored a goal to mark the Lionesses’ first major tournament win over Sweden since 1984. This England’s third trip to the final and the first since 2009. 

Here’s some takeaways and highlights from the match:

Historic blowout 

Playing on home soil, England entered the match with the pressure of an entire nation. The pressure was even greater when you add the fact that England, prior to this four-goal demolition, had been eliminated in the semis in the past three Euros and had only one win in the past seven competitive meetings against Sweden.

Sweden looked like a team finally ready to hit their stride in the tournament, playing quick in transition, forcing England goalkeeper Mary Earps to make a massive save to keep things even in the opening minute. 

It took the Lionesses 25 minutes to shake off the semifinal nerves as Sweden’s failure to finish in front of goal came back to haunt them when Beth Mead broke the deadlock with a sweet finish for her sixth goal of the tournament.

With the goal, Mead is currently in the lead for the golden boot of the tournament. That’s an incredible feel-good story for someone who was left off Great Britain’s Olympic squad for the 2020 Tokyo Games and has persevered to become one of the most important players of this tournament, let alone her team. Her confidence in front of goal has paid off for the national team and she has now scored 20 goals for England in 19 matches under manager Sarina Wiegman. 

Goal of the tourney

A narrow 1-0 scoreline didn’t seem insurmountable at halftime for Sweden, but England continued to capitalize on their superb chances in front of goal as Bronze extended the scoreline just three minutes into the second half. Wiegman’s second-half insertion of Alessia Russo provided an unforgettable moment in front of 28,624 fans in Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane.

Kirby had another top-notch performance as she utilized her vision on the pitch and pulled the strings on passes for her teammates. She capped off the night for England with a fourth goal, chipping veteran Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl. The lopsided win tacked onto England’s historic march to the final in this tournament as they have outscored their opposition 20-1. 

Confidence building for Lionesses

The Lionesses will now hope that third time is the charm in the European cup final. They finished as runner-up after a 6-2 loss to Germany in 2009 and lost in the inaugural 1984 final to the Swedes in penalty kicks. The confidence of this current squad is evident through the play and body language on the pitch as it is en route to slaying demons that have haunted previous teams. 

Under Wiegman, the team has hit an incredible run of form heading into the final as her team’s are 17-2-0 in their last 19 games, outscoring their opposition 104-4. They won the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup, qualified for the 2023 FIFA women’s World Cup and are now 90 minutes from their first ever European title.

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