England super sub Alicia Russo celebrates ‘naughty’ backheel goal – but don’t expect a repeat


Lesia Russo doubts she will be able to score another goal like last night’s backheel against Sweden, which left the country reeling and applauded throughout the game.

The substitute clinched England’s third European Championship semi-final victory 4-0 with a brilliant feat of skill and imagination.

Away from goal and under pressure from two Sweden defenders, Russo deflected the ball back between Hedwig Lindahl’s legs after her initial effort was saved by the goalkeeper.

“Of course [it was one of the best goals I’ve ever scored], to score in a semi-final and advance to the final is a big highlight of my career,” Russo said. “I don’t usually score backheels and I don’t think you’ll see that again! So I’ll take it now.

“I missed the first ball. We were actually working on cutbacks in training the other day. Once it fell to me, I thought, ‘This is the fastest ball for me to hit the back of the net.’ What is the way?’ Because I should have scored in the first place, I just flicked one foot at it and luckily it hit the back of the net.

Alessia Russo celebrates her stunning win against Sweden that sparked a meltdown.

/ FA via Getty Images

“I think you play your best when you enjoy your football. [the goal] It shows confidence but I just love playing football.”

England boss Serena Wegman praised Russia’s “guts” and Manchester United will face more pressure to advance to Sunday’s final against Germany or France at Wembley.

“You have to have the guts to do something unexpected and unusual like that,” said Wigman, who has named the same XI for all five Euro matches despite scoring four times off the bench for Russia. .

Arsenal legend Ian Wright doubts Wigman will make the switch for the final but says Rossouw has done everything he can to start.

“The arrangement is fantastic,” Wright said in her role as a BBC pundit. “When she arrived, she made an immediate impact. She connects the play. I’m not sure what else needs to be done to get it started. When you look at Ellen White’s contributions over the years, you can’t question that. But he ‘didn’t do enough in this tournament. this girl [Russo] doing. I don’t think Wegman’s will change that.”

Beth Mead, who opened the scoring with her sixth goal in the final last night, described Russia’s goal as “very naughty”, while team-mate Chloe Kelly was lost for words.

“Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it,” Kelly said. “She’s incredible and that just sums it up. What a finish.”

Russo’s performance sent social media into meltdown, with women’s football royalty among those congratulating the 23-year-old.

Chelsea and Australia striker Sam Kerr, who scored 20 goals in the Women’s Super League (WSL) last season, tweeted: “Not gonna lie, it was lit by Russo.”

World Cup-winning USA forward Abby Wambach tweeted: “I’ve dreamed of scoring a goal like this my whole life. Never. @alessiarusso7 take the bow. Let’s go England.”