The most important moment of Euro 2022 was Alessia Russo’s beautiful heel strike

SHEFFIELD, UK – If you want to mark a glorious victory, it doesn’t matter how you do it. The goal will speak for itself, whether it’s a touchdown or a spectacular shot at 30 yards.

But there is also a completely different level, and Alessia Russo delivered the viral moment of Euro 22 with a goal straight out of the textbook about Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim England Win 4-0 against Sweden and send the Lionesses to 22 Euros final.

The outcome is huge on many levels for the host country. It ended a streak of three consecutive losses in the semi-finals of the major tournament – Euro 2017 and the World Cups 2015 and 2019 – and put Sarina Wiegman’s side on a winning streak (against Germany or France in Sunday’s final) to won the championship for the first time major title for England women’s national team.

But while the tournament has generally given women’s football a huge Europe-wide boost and tied England to the country’s congested sporting scene, the moments of wonder brought about by Manchester United striker Russo delivers is something beyond the sport itself.

Georgia StanwayHis spectacular long shot, which sealed a 2-1 quarter-final win over Spain in Brighton last week, was a “wonderful” moment that captured the public’s imagination and helped Wiegman’s squad. overcome non-soccer spectators.

Russo’s goal in the 68th minute in Tuesday’s semi-final, making it 3-0 against England and eliminating any prospect of a fight against Sweden was, however, different, because it was so unexpected and daring.

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23 years old, surrogate Ellen White just 11 minutes earlier had initially seen a shot saved by Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, but she had gathered a rebound, fending off a strong push from a defender and seemingly was driving the ball away from goal until she stunned everyone inside Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane. by heeling the ball back into the net from six yards.

Russo was back in goal and her chances seemed to be gone, but she created the moment of the tournament by not only putting the ball in the net but also sending it past Lindahl’s feet at the same time.

The kids in the playgrounds and playgrounds – girls and boys – will wake up tomorrow morning and spend hours trying to copy Russo’s goals, just like they were scored by Ronaldo, Messi or any of the male superstars of football.

Manchester United teammates Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof were all at Bramall Lane to see their respective nations – and you can also bet that Russo’s target will also be the dressing room talk Old Trafford in the morning.

Tournaments are all about unearthing new stars, creating unforgettable moments, and Euro 22 has been dominated by England in that respect. However, Russo’s moment will confirm airtime in places where football is normally inaccessible, so its value to the game cannot be overstated.

But from England’s point of view, it makes little sense if Wiegman’s side can’t win at Wembley on Sunday.

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Investment in the women’s game in the UK in recent years has turned the Lionesses into an emerging power in the sport, but the nation needs more than barely-there semis to justify it. that payment.

Wiegman’s appointment as manager in 2021 is another signal that the Football Association is determined to go that extra step and win something, with the 52-year-old already delivering Euro success to Netherlands in 2017, and she was revealed as Phil Neville’s successor.

This is her 20th match and there have been 18 wins and 2 draws. The final at home, in front of 85,000 people at Wembley on Sunday, is a golden opportunity for England to finally win a major honor.

But England are an impressive team. Sweden, second in the FIFA world rankings, was blown away in this game having initially dominated the opening half hour.

England goalkeeper Mary Earps Had to save from Sofia Jakobsson in the first 20 seconds, and Sweden took the lead twice in the first 10 minutes. But England has maintained its bravery and gradually gained a foothold thanks to the calmness of the captain. Leah Williamson and determination in the midfield of Fran Kirby.

However, the opening goal was important and it came in the 34th minute as the tournament’s top scorer Beth Mead take Lucy dongA cross before turning and shooting into the net. Then, Mead returned the advantage three minutes into the second half by crossing to Barcelona defender Bronze to head in England’s second game.

Sweden then looked as if it had run out of energy and faith, and England was rushing forward in waves, with Lauren Hemp hit the crossbar 57 minutes into the match. Earps then made a vital save to get past a header from Stina Blackstenius after 65 minutes. If that took the lead and made it 2-1, final touches. may have been stressful for England, but Earps’ save was made three minutes later by Russo’s goal and that ended the game like a contest.

But there was more to come as Kirby made it 4-0 with a lob from 20 yards in the 77th minute as England booked their place in the final with a ruthless finish.

All that remains now is 90 minutes at Wembley for the Euro 2022 trophy. Whether England face Germany or France, they will have some beating.

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