Stanway stunner sends England into semi-final after extra-time win over Spain

The party was almost over, but Ella Toone showed up and the whole place went crazy again. One goal down and on the brink of elimination with six minutes remaining, England had fallen victim to a superb Spanish side, but a late volley equalizer from Manchester United midfield took them in time extra where Georgia Stanway smashed a shot right away. of a comedian to lead them into the last four. Next stop in this crazy race: Sheffield.

It wasn’t until after 10 p.m. that they started singing It’s Coming Home here, it was so hard. Now they could finally believe that was really the case, which isn’t to say they wouldn’t suffer more – oh they would – but in the end the England players stood on the side of the land crowning Sweet Caroline. “So good, so good,” they sang, and it sure had been. It was a magnificent match, honored by both teams. A heroic and grueling occasion they will never forget.

Spain had shone but England resisted and rebelled, canceling out Esther González’s goal – the first she conceded in the tournament and which threatened to end the hosts prematurely. At the end of the day, however, it’s England who are still standing, the goal that got them there one of those moments you could see unfold and well watch for years, Stanway walking in before wanted by everyone and letting fly.

It was the 105th minute, but it still wasn’t over, with the impressive Aitana Bonmatí hitting a shot in extra time as Spain desperately sought to come back, just like England had done before her, and Sandra Paños was inside the English zone. as the clock reached 120. Eventually, however, the drums beat, the lights shone, and the English submarines sprinted onto the field and into the arms of their teammates, the music intensified. The Spanish players looked shattered, their greatest moment having been taken away from them in a cruel way.

The English players celebrate their spectacular extra-time victory against Spain. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

It was a miracle that any of them could still move after that. They were playing just five seconds when the first footballer went down, Ellen White taking Mapi León’s clearance right in the face, and it seemed to set up a game that was frantic at times and would become one of the highest quality. By the time the quarter hour came, as many players were on the turf as minutes had been played during a period when heels were broken and lungs burst; the press was high, implacable.

Gradually Spain got their act together and once they did, they started to turn the screw. Bonmatí, blessed with a degree of freedom on the left of midfield, slid, her movement elegant and her use of the ball impeccable. On the left, Mariona Caldentey was busy and involved. Up front, González kept pushing. The full-backs were quick in the tackle, depriving England of space to run into. Not only did the hosts struggle to get the ball back, they couldn’t even kick counters, were denied time to breathe or a ball to play with.

White was the first to put the ball in the net, only to have it ruled out for offside, but Spain’s dominance gave them the lead early in the second half and increased thereafter . Caldentey and Bonmatí were at the heart of the match, but it was the very impressive half-time substitute Athenea del Castillo who did it. She superbly slipped the ball between Rachel Daly’s legs, rushed into the box and pulled it out for González to beat Mary Earps for the first time.

Ella Toone fires the England equalizer from close range.
Ella Toone fires the England equalizer from close range. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Sarina Wiegman’s response was bold, White and Beth Mead backed out. England might have had a way back when Lauren Hemp appealed for a penalty, which was saved by Ona Batlle. At the other end, Earps had to pull away from Del Castillo – a save that would prove decisive. Del Castillo was repeatedly running Daly and Spain scoring a second seemed a likely scenario now.

England, however, kept coming, with Irene Paredes blocking shots from Toone and Stanway before the ball fell for Hemp inside the area only for the shot to fly over. Spain tried to fight their way to safety, Caldentey and Bonmatí surprising at times, and nearly ended it when Leah Williamson had to block Sheila García, but England would not be denied. With time ticking away, Hemp’s delivery was superb and Alessia Russo, as she has so often done, jumped to the lead. The ball fell for Toone, who stretched a leg to head home, England’s vital signs returning.

Spain was injured and temporarily gone, complaining of a foul. England was back. Nerves were frayed and bodies tired, but the second goal was worthy of a wonderful occasion. Popping through, Stanway’s shot tore through the air and took an entire country with it, the party now swinging.

#Stanway #stunner #sends #England #semifinal #extratime #win #Spain

Add Comment