It’s been a mixed case of feelings at this Women’s Euros for Manchester City’s international stars as England make the final, but at the expense of other blues.
Lauren Hemp, Keira Walsh, Chloe Kelly and Alex Greenwood all featured in Tuesday night’s stunning 4-0 win over Sweden that booked their place in Sunday’s showpiece final, where they will face either Germany or France for the opportunity of lifting their first major trophy.
But for City’s other internationals, it was pure agony as the Filippa Angeldahl was the latest blue to be eliminated from the competition. Her Sweden side followed Spain, who have two blues in their side, went out of the tournament at England’s hands.
Other blues that have gone out of the Euros are new signing Kerstin Casparij, whose Dutch side fell at the hands of France, and Julie Blakstad’s Norway failed to qualify from the group stage, mainly due to England thumping them 8-0 in the second match.
Blakstad was run ragged by a rampant and rejuvenated Beth Mead, who hit a treble, while Ellen White bagged a brace and Lauren Hemp scored with a cheeky goal. Former blue Georgia Stanway had opened the scoring from the penalty spot, and she also scored the winner when the Lionesses beat Spain. Other goalscoring blues included Angeldahl, who hit a brace for Sweden as they hammered Portugal 5-0 in their final group game.
Unsung Hero Walsh Guiding England
Football usually looks at the scorers and credits them with changing the course of the game. Alessio Russo will have taken the plaudits last night, scoring with what is probably the cheekiest goal to be seen at the tournament. It’s no easy feat to nutmeg a quality international goalkeeper with a backheel, and her goal will be talked about for years to come.
But, in the middle of the park, there has been no one more dependable than Keira Walsh. The City midfielder has been involved in all but four minutes of the tournament, but has been solid in the middle of the park in every match. Her presence in midfield, mopping up the loose balls and starting attacks has been the driving force behind this magnificent England side, who have swept everyone before them aside.
Mead may very win the golden boot and deservedly so. Russo may be talked about replacing White as England’s main striker, and that will probably happen. But Walsh’s influence on the game just doesn’t get talked about in the manner it should.
The Lionesses face either France or Germany in Sunday’s final, and it is likely to draw a record crowd and TV audience as the England girls show how it’s done.
From all at Bitter and Blue, we wish our England girls the very best of luck on Sunday.
Bring football home.