The Perfect Night

by Darrell Allen (27/7/22)

Above: The Lionesses celebrate after their incredible win against Sweden last night. Photo: Lionesses.

After all the challenges and anxiety that were involved with the Lionesses’ Quarter Final against Spain, this Semi Final night in Sheffield against Sweden was a walk in the park in comparison. 

A crowd just shy of the 29,000 mark roared the Lionesses on to success and a place in Sunday’s Wembley Final thanks to goals from Beth Mead, Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo, and Fran Kirby.

Following a tricky spell in the first half, this night was a breeze and that’s credit to how well Sarina Wiegman’s team played. 

Magnificent Mead

Above: Beth Mead – on target again and leading the Golden Boot race. Photo: Lionesses.

Beth Mead – who else – got this magical Bramall Lane night off with a beautiful goal as the first touch and swivel was superb before she finished to give England the lead.

This was the Arsenal forward’s sixth goal of the tournament and she will be hoping to be the hero again in Sunday’s Final.

It’s not just on the pitch where Mead is magnificent, in every television interview she is herself – human and genuine and that’s the reason she is so popular. A role model on and off the pitch.

Steam Engine Stanway 

Above: Georgia Stanway receives the adulation of the crowd at Bramall Lane last night. Photo: Lionesses.

Georgia Stanway, simply magnificent again, her wonderful headline extra time winning moment against Spain was followed up with a display of critical hard craft and incredible passing. 

Stanway is a player who doesn’t get enough credit, always an eight out of 10 player or better, vital to everything the Lionesses do well.

Bayern Munich’s latest signing can do headline moments but more importantly does the dirty work, ensures the defence is protected but also gets forward and tries to create opportunities. She will be a massive player in deciding whether England are successful in the final.

Russo Does The Henry

Above: Alessia Russo scoring THAT goal last night. Photo: Lionesses.

Alessia Russo’s goal was truly extraordinary. The control and the audacity to back heel the ball into the goal.

It had the air of Thierry Henry about it, one of the men’s games greatest forwards. Back on 2nd October 2004 he backheeled the ball in for Arsenal at Highbury against Charlton Athletic.

The two goals were almost carbon copies and Russo added further stock to her already amazing tournament. 

Kirby Comes to Town

Above: What a night it was for Fran Kirby. Photo: Lionesses.

What an incredible performance from Fran Kirby of Chelsea. It seemed just apt that it was Kirby who wrote the final chapter of this remarkable evening with an extraordinary lob over Lindahl in the Sweden goal.

Kirby was influential and covered every blade of grass on a night where she was simply amazing.

Incredible really for a player who missed the second half of the domestic season due to injury and illness. 

Kirby was in the mood all night and got her reward when she scored the final goal of the contest on 76 minutes. 

Get ready for a Special Sunday 

Whatever happens now, Sunday 31st July will live long in the memory as England go for glory in a home Euros at a sold out Wembley Stadium. 

Whether you are lucky enough to be at the ground or watching at home this is a day to be proud of Lionesses, proud of Football, and proud of our country. 

ENGLAND (4-2-3-1): Earps, Bronze, Bright, Williamson, Daly, Stanway, Walsh, Mead, Kirby, Hemp, White. Substitutes: Greenwood, Carter, Hampton, Stokes, Scott, Parris, Kelly, England, Toone, Roebuck, Wubben-Moy, Russo.

Scorers: Mead 34′, Bronze 48′, Russo 68′, Kirby 76′.

SWEDEN (4-2-3-1): Lindahl, IIestedt, ,Sambrant, Eriksson, Glas, Angeldal, Bjorn, Jakobsson, Asllani, Rolfo, Blackstenius. Subs: Andersson, Nildén, Kullberg, Hurtig, Falk, Blomqvist, Seger, Rytting Kaneryd, Bennison, Musovic.

Referee: Esther Staubli.

Attendance: 28,624

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