The three Reds who made Euros history
England Lionesses made history in front of a sold-out Wembley Stadium on Sunday, overcoming old rivals Germany to lift the 2022 European Championship trophy.
The triumph for Sarina Wiegman’s side was the first in England Women’s history, and three Reds were integral to the success of the nation.
Mary Earps, Alessia Russo and Ella Toone all played pivotal roles across this summer’s tournament, culminating in the trio parading Wembley on Sunday evening with winners’ medals around their necks and beaming smiles on their faces.
There is no doubt that their success will inspire a new generation of footballers to follow in their footsteps.
The United goalkeeper is renowned for her commanding presence and infectious personality, and grasped the opportunity when it presented herself to show the nation her quality – something that United fans were already well aware of.
Earps was part of the England squad that finished fourth at the 2019 World Cup, where she was third choice behind Karen Bardsley and Carly Telford. After thinking her England chances were over after that tournament, Earps’ form for the Reds changed her fortunes.
Incoming manager Wiegman named our no.27 in her first England squad at the start of the 2021/22 campaign, and Earps hasn’t looked back since. Heading into this year’s Euros, Earps’ form and an injury to Manchester City’s no.1 Ellie Roebuck saw the Reds’ ‘keeper establish her place as Wiegman’s starter.
Throughout this summer’s tournament, the 29-year-old’s performances have only strengthened her grip on the no.1 spot. Often heard barking out orders to her defence, Earps also demonstrated her cat-like reflexes and composure as the Lionesses marched on to Euros glory and she conceded just twice throughout the competition.
In particular, Earps’ performance against Sweden was pivotal to the Lionesses reaching Sunday’s final. She denied talented Arsenal striker Stina Blackstenius twice and was a wall in front of the England goal.
The same could be said for the final against Germany. Despite conceding the equaliser in the second half, Earps was once again composed and resolute, laying strong foundations from which the Lionesses went on to make history.
And her celebrations at full-time were typical of what we’ve come to expect from our ‘keeper: full of energy and jubilance.
Search the phrase ‘super-sub’ in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of Russo next to it. Our striker finished the tournament with four goals to her name, all from the bench.
Of course, the best of these finishes was her deft backheel against Sweden, which helped to confirm England’s place in the final.
But it wasn’t just Russo’s goals that were impressive during the Euros; her overall play was a joy to watch. Our no.23 bullied opposition defenders, some of them among the best in the world.
Russo showcased her close control and ability to bring others into play during every appearance she made, highlighting to the rest of the world why she is such a key asset for United Women manager Marc Skinner.
What’s more, the 23-year-old is still developing and will only get better...
Check out Alessia's best moments from a memorable Euro 2022 campaign...
'Tooney' often joined the action at the same time as her United team-mate, Russo. Wiegman would send the pair on to make an impact, and on most occasions, they did.
While she may not have scored as many goals as Russo, with two, there is no doubting the importance of our midfielder’s strikes. Toone’s first goal in the tournament saw her link up with her United team-mate, getting on to the end of Russo’s header to hammer home the equaliser against Spain in the quarter-final.
This strike sent the match to extra-time, where England overcome their tough opponents to proceed to the semi-finals. There is no doubting the significance of her goal against Spain, but Toone’s effort in the final against Germany ensured her place in the history books.
Again introduced as a second-half substitute, Toone latched on to Keira Walsh’s delightful through ball and clipped the ball effortlessly beyond Frohms to send Wembley into raptures.
Our no.7’s strike opened the scoring, and after Germany’s late equaliser, Chloe Kelly’s strike in extra-time won the game for the Lionesses. Toone ended the tournament with two goals, one assist, and a place in women’s footballing folklore.
Toone delivered when it counted most for the Lionesses this summer...
WIN A SIGNED RUSSO SHIRT & POSTER
To celebrate Russo's incredible backheel against Sweden in the Euro 2022 semi-final, we are giving supporters a chance to win a United shirt and a poster signed by the striker herself.
You can enter the competition here until it closes at 23:59 BST on Sunday 7 August, so get involved!
COME AND WATCH THE REDS
Want to come and cheer on United Women? Tickets for the 2022/23 season are on sale now, and you can buy them here.