Alessia Russo on England’s ‘surreal’ Euro 2022 win and ‘wonderful’ goal

But as the dust settles after the Lionesses’ historic 2-1 win at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, Russo insists it’s ‘just the start’ for her side and she hopes for a bright future for football female in England.

“The final was an incredible day – the stadium, the event, having all these fans there was just surreal,” said the Manchester United striker. CNN Sports.

The Euro 2022 final was played in front of 87,192 people – a record crowd for a European Championship final, men’s or women’s, while 17.4 million people across the UK watched the game on television, according to the BBC.

“It’s just the beginning for us I think. We want to fill stadiums every week, of course we do, but we have to be realistic and we know it’s a process to get there,” adds Russo .

“We just want to see more people fall in love with football and accept that women’s football is amazing. The United States has set the bar high, but the teams are catching up now and that’s really exciting.”

Russo celebrates after the final whistle against Germany.
While Russo and England can now watch what awaits the team – next year’s World Cup qualifying and a meeting with the best USWNT — they can also think about a European roller coaster campaign.

The home advantage meant England were among the favorites to win Euro 2022 long before a ball was kicked, and expectations only rose after a resounding 8-0 win over Norway in group stage.

“I think the media put pressure on us as soon as they found out it was a home tournament,” Russo explains, “but there was never any pressure internally.

“We were really good at keeping the bubble very closed and very focused on the games… From day one we wanted to win the tournament, but at the same time we realized we had to exclude everyone outside the world.

“We didn’t even know how crazy it was going to be, and it turned out to be 10 times crazier than we all thought… We were so focused on training and enjoying the company of the other, go out and then start again.”

England players celebrate in London's Trafalgar Square after their victory against Germany.

What has also helped, says Russo, is the influence of coach Sarina Wiegman, who has yet to lose a match with England, nor at the Women’s Euros after also leading the Netherlands. to victory in 2017.

“I think we all like to play with her,” Russo says. “She’s got like a real calm about her. She’s very relaxed and off the pitch and even on the sidelines. She doesn’t really get hot or too hot in the moment – ​​she’s very levelheaded.”

Russo, 23, has been used extensively as a substitute throughout her England career and was taken off the bench in all six of the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 games.

here the fourth and final goal of the tournament was the most memorable – a sublime, instinctive back heel kick through the legs of Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl that highlighted England’s 4-0 victory in the semi-final.

“I don’t think I will score a goal like that again,” Russo said. “I think it was just a one-time wonder, but I’ll take it.”

Russo lines up his backheel against Sweden.
The goal quickly garnered applause throughout women’s football and beyond, including catching the attention of The great Abby Wambach of the United States and Chelsea and Australia star Sam Kerr.

“I saw my old club that I grew up with – they were all training in training which was good,” Russo adds.

“And if that’s a goal or whatever, it’s nice to see that women’s football is leaving an imprint on the world and on young boys and girls. If that inspires a person to go out and play football , I take it.”

Look at the goal back – and the wild celebrations that followed – and it’s hard not to be inspired by Russo and the Lionesses.

The future of women’s football in England looks bright, but before Russo can begin to consider what he might have in store for her, she has more immediate priorities.

“There’s definitely a holiday coming up,” she says. “It’s been an amazing few months, but I’m very exhausted and need a little break.”