View from the terraces

England’s Lionesses ‘simply don’t know when they’re beaten’

Stanway’s ‘stunner’ and Wiegman’s ‘bold’ changes seal a semi-final spot

Georgia Stanway was England’s hero after scoring a spectacular extra-time winner in last night’s Uefa Women’s Euro quarter-final against Spain. The 2-1 victory over the pre-tournament favourites means the Lionesses will now take on Sweden or Belgium in the semi-final next Tuesday. 

Spain had been “sharp” going forward and took a deserved lead in the 53rd minute through Esther Gonzalez, said Reuters. It was the first goal conceded by the Lionesses in 482 minutes of play and “left them in unfamiliar territory” – having to come from a goal behind.

With six minutes left to play in normal time England did get the equaliser when substitute Ella Toone volleyed in. Then six minutes into the first half of extra-time Stanway’s rocket proved to be the difference between the two sides. 

As Stanway sprinted over to the corner to celebrate, “a rendition of Football’s Coming Home broke out in the stands” at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, said Emma Sanders on the BBC. The “significance” of this victory “was clear” as England’s bench ran on to the pitch at full-time to celebrate. The Lionesses are “on a winning run” and they are “desperate for it to continue all the way to the final at Wembley”.

Winning goal ‘straight out of a comic’

The goal that took England to the last four was “one of those moments you could see unfold and may well be watching for years”, said Sid Lowe in The Guardian. Striding forward, Stanway was “willed on by everyone” and from 25 yards out “smashed in a shot straight out of a comic”. 

The 23-year-old, who signed for German club Bayern Munich in May, was “already enjoying a solid performance” in midfield before popping up with the stunning winner, said Sky Sports. Hers was a display “full of typically strong challenges” and “defensive awareness”.

England head coach Sarina Wiegman celebrates the victory over Spain

England head coach Sarina Wiegman celebrates the victory

Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

Wiegman’s ‘brave’ decisions

Since Sarina Wiegman took over as head coach last September, the Lionesses are unbeaten in 18 matches with 16 wins, two draws, 100 goals scored and just four conceded. She will be looking to win the Uefa Women’s Euros for the second time in succession having coached her native Netherlands to victory in 2017. She also led the Dutch to the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup final, where they lost to the US. 

Wiegman’s experience in big matches was needed last night when England found themselves a goal behind. And it was her “bold substitutions” that earned England the semi-final place, said Molly Hudson in The Times

Responding to the Spain opener, Wiegman took off England women’s all-time leading goalscorer Ellen White, the tournament’s top goalscorer Beth Mead and experienced forward Fran Kirby. Bringing on Alessia Russo, Chloe Kelly and Toone respectively, “it proved to be inspired”, said Sanders on the BBC. Kelly “reignited” the energy of the team, while Toone and Russo “combined for the equaliser to take the game to extra time”.

England pass a ‘true test’

Both teams played “smart technical football at a high-tempo”, said Reuters. This quarter-final clash “showcased the European women’s game at its best”.

On a “thunderous night” in Brighton, the match contained “all the classic ingredients of tournament football”, said Phil McNulty on the BBC. And with their win over the strong Spaniards, England have shown their “credentials” by passing a “true test”. The Lionesses looked “tired and beaten at one stage”, so to “leap that hurdle” while being “second best for so long”, will provide “huge reserves of confidence and self-belief for what they hope will be two more dates with destiny in this tournament”.

There’s something about this England team, said Tom Hamilton on ESPN. “They simply don’t know when they’re beaten.” 

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