Reds prepare for Euro 2022 final
Mary Earps, Alessia Russo and Ella Toone have reached Sunday’s final of the 2022 Women’s European Championship, and the Reds are hoping to help bring football home.
The three United Women were part of the team that overcame Sweden on Tuesday night and are now set for a fierce clash against Germany – who defeated France in the semi-finals - at a sold-out Wembley at Sunday teatime (17:00 BST).
It represents a first major final that the Lionesses have reached since 2009, when they were beaten by Germany, also in the European Championship. They will hope to put that result right this weekend.
As we look ahead to a historic day for English women’s football, here’s how our Reds have performed so far.
United Women goalkeeper Mary Earps has been in inspired form for Sarina Wiegman’s side throughout this summer’s tournament.
Earps has kept a remarkable four clean sheets in five fixtures, conceding just one goal. The Reds’ goalkeeper has produced some brilliant saves, notably denying dangerous Arsenal striker Stina Blackstenius twice in Tuesday’s semi-final.
Mary Earps. 👏 pic.twitter.com/VIzaFvFx9u— Lionesses (@Lionesses) July 27, 2022
Our no.27 spoke to Sky Sports following the last-four triumph at Bramall Lane.
“[I’m] just so happy, I feel emotions are high,” she said. “I don’t think we know whether to celebrate or cry but the job isn’t done yet and I think we’re all just super focused.”
Alessia Russo has emerged as a fan favourite during Euro 2022, and our striker’s backheel against Sweden in the semi-final showed the world what she is capable of.
Of course, United supporters were already fully aware of Russo’s abilities, and her return of four goals makes her the second-leading scorer at this year’s tournament, despite not starting any matches so far.
Russo’s form certainly gives Wiegman a dilemma ahead of the final on Sunday, but we know that regardless of her role, our no.23 will give her all and make an impact.
WIN A SIGNED RUSSO SHIRT & POSTER
To celebrate Russo's incredible backheel against Sweden, we are giving supporters a chance to win a United shirt and a poster signed by the woman herself! The competition ends at 23:59 on Sunday 7 August, so get involved!
The third Red in the Lionesses’ squad is our no.7 Ella Toone. Like her club team-mate Russo, Toone has made an impact from the bench for Wiegman’s side, notably scoring the 84th-minute equaliser against Spain in the quarter-final.
Often joining the action at the same time as Russo, Toone’s diligent running and talent on the ball has help affect matches and either turn the tide – as was the case against Spain – or extend the Lionesses’ lead.
So far, Toone has appeared in each of England’s five fixtures, assisting once and scoring once. She will want to carry on this trend at Wembley on Sunday.
TOGETHER FOR CLUB AND COUNTRY
Russo and Toone have a close bond, and the duo appeared on EE’s Lionesses Live together on Thursday evening. The pair took part in a question-and-answer session, in which they were asked what inspired them about one another.
Russo said: “Ever since we’ve been at United, Tooney’s just like, she hates any time off. It’s a blessing and a curse but she’s fully committed to everything to do with football that she doesn’t even want to have our days off that we are given.”
Toone thanked her United team-mate for the kind words and explained what is great about our no.23.
She said: “I think for Less, she just always wants to improve. She always wants to be better. Even when she scored that backheel, her first thought was ‘I should have scored the first one.’
“Whenever we’ve got a game, she’s always analysing the centre-halves and the opposition, and she just always wants to keep improving.”