Russo bags brace as England top group
Manchester United Women's striker Alessia Russo came off the bench to score twice as England rounded off a prefect group stage at Euro 2022.
The Lionesses were 2-0 up against Northern Ireland at halftime when Russo was introduced, before she netted within just three minutes after coming on – heading a Beth Mead cross home from six yards.
Russo then linked up with fellow Red Ella Toone five minutes later for a delightful fourth goal, putting the contest beyond doubt in a devastating start to the second half by the tournament hosts.
Toone played in Russo, who had her back to goal, but she danced past the green-shirted defence on the turn and had all the time she needed to steer the ball into the net when one-on-one with the keeper.
An own-goal saw the match finish 5-0, securing England’s place as Group A winners and setting up a quarter-final tie with the yet to be decided runners-up of Group B.
Speaking about her goals to BBC following the game at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium, Russo said: “Luckily got in the right place at the right time and was able to put them in the back of the net.”
Asked about wanting to be involved in the quarters, she added: “Obviously I want to play every game for England but just got to be patient. The girls were brilliant first half and second.
“It took a while to break them down but we that they were going to put a bit of a block on and sit deep but we broke them down and we got the two goals leading into half-time.”
Following clean sheets in both of England’s other victories, it means United goalkeeper and England number one Mary Earps is yet to concede in the competition as the team move into the last eight.
Elsewhere in Group A, Austria narrowly edged out Norway 1-0 at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, sadly meaning that Reds Maria Thorisdottir and Vilde Boe Risa are out of the tournament, with Norway pipped to the final knockout place in the group by their Friday evening opponents.
Boe Risa was introduced in the second half while Thorsidottir was an unused substitute. Commiserations to our Norwegian duo.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY AT THE EUROS?
Tonight sees the final matches in Group B, which will decide who England face in the next round.
Ona Battle’s Spain will qualify if they avoid defeat to Denmark, while a win will see the Danish side through to the quarter-finals.
The other match in the group is Finland v Germany - both kick off at 20:00 BST.