England’s solid Mary Earps, Millie Bright and Keira Walsh led the way to the semi-finals | Football news

Let’s start with the obvious – football is a team game. There are players who attract attention, often goalscorers, but it takes all kinds of hard work to make a successful and winning team.

It’s easy to pick out the best players in this England team. Beth Mead scored five goals in the group stage and remained the leader for the tournament’s Golden Boot. Alessia Russo was the Lionesses super-sub, scoring three goals from the bench, and her Manchester United team-mate Ella Toone also shone.

Georgia Stanway’s stunning quarter-final winner has hit the headlines – after Toone’s equalizer – while Ellen White still has two more goals left to break Wayne Rooney’s scoring record.

These players led England’s devastating attack that sent Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses to the Euro 2022 finals.

But England’s central pillars of Mary Earps, Millie Bright and Keira Walsh are also key – some might argue more than forward players.

All three showed exactly why against Spain in the quarter-finals. Earps, in particular, didn’t need to make many notable saves throughout the group stage – there were a game or two against Austria and Norway, while Northern Ireland’s Lauren Wade did her best to beat Earps at St Mary’s – but still caused England to contend more than once against La Roja.

She commanded her box well for the most part, despite conceding the first goal of the tournament. Perhaps the choice of Earps’ performance was her brilliant save from Athenea del Castillo’s daring cross in the second half, which looked destined to round the far corner.

The players are there to clear the ball after making a save? Bright, reliable player of the match against Spain.

The Chelsea defender has entered the summer after a tense domestic season with Chelsea. She helped the Blues win a Women’s Super League title and FA Cup. Bright placed second in the entire WSL for attempted passes and completed passes last season. She is also fifth in the number of long passes completed and second in the number of touchdowns.

She bought that form into Euros. It was the long passes from behind that helped unlock the defence, pick out Mead or Lauren Hemp runs on the wing, or sometimes go shorter to midfield.

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England’s Georgia Stanway still has to credit herself that she scored that magic goal against Spain, sending them into the Euro semi-finals but added that the job is not done as they aim to take it one step further. again

She is also vital in the area, especially in the air, which is important in stopping crosses from Spain’s dangerous wingers.

While she may not find the net against Spain, a somewhat risky tactical change from Wiegman as Alex Greenwood replaces Rachel Daly, and Bright is pushed further. He equalized two minutes later with Bright’s move in the build, contributing to Russo’s nod and Toone’s gap to finish.

Another key ingredient in England’s success was Walsh. The quarterback is the Lionesses’ secret weapon and a supremely talented midfielder – the team simply wouldn’t function the same way without her.

Keira Walsh was key in England's transformation
Keira Walsh was key in England’s game against Spain

While some teams will double the lead with Hemp and Mead’s plunging down the flanks, it will be harder to limit Walsh in midfield – but very likely. Spain have almost controlled that to a devastating extent, allowing her no time on the ball to control play, and it’s no surprise that England started to improve as Walsh hit the stride. hers.

Sports Sky’ Writer Nick Wright said: “When Walsh was finally able to find space for herself as England searched for an equalizer and Spain became tense, she began to do what she is best at, carving Defeat the opponent and provide the ammunition her teammates need.

“She was involved in building the equalizer, a key figure in the patient-building play that allowed Lauren Hemp to cross to Alessia Russo to set up teammate Ella Toone’s replacement.

“In injury time at the end of normal time, there was a superb cross-corner pass to free Chloe Kelly on the right wing of England. Not long after that, a brilliant pass from Hemp took the place. her Manchester City team-mate crosses into the Spain penalty area. .

“Walsh even claimed support for the winner, helping Stanway swoop forward and score in sensational style. Stanway’s strike ensured her name would dominate the headlines, but It was Walsh who laid the groundwork for this change.”

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England’s Fran Kirby says head coach Sarina Wiegman’s experience can help the team get through to the Euro semi-final against Sweden, where they have failed before

Of course, no team is complete without a striker – and this is where some of the debate begins. In fact, Sarina Wiegman is unlikely to leave Ellen White. The striker has started every Euro 2022 game so far and the head coach has been consistent in her message that she is unlikely to change the starting lineup.

But Russo has made a brilliant decision on her part, with pundits and fans alike starting to question whether the 23-year-old should have been given a starting spot in the first place.

White is one of England’s most experienced players and their all-time leading goalscorer. Her close play against Norway was key in the 8-0 win, but in other games, White missed opportunities she might have missed in previous years. Perhaps a season that isn’t right for Manchester City is starting to kick in.

Ellen White had a goal in the first half ruled out for offside
Ellen White faced some criticism at this summer’s Euros

Russo has long been a favorite at Man Utd and after a knee injury ended the 2020/21 season, she has returned to form since returning to club and country. She has come on as a substitute in all four games so far, scoring three goals, including two against Northern Ireland.

She offers something different from White. England’s top scorer has a lot of intelligence in movement and pressure, opening something up for her teammates, while Russo is an all-around and well-worked playmaker. than with the ball.

Rather than being the traditional forward waiting for crosses in midfield, as White often does, and while that’s not a criticism, Russo was in other areas of the pitch to press the ball forward. She defeats other attackers around her and has endings to support it. Both sets of qualities have worked for England.

It all begs the question – should England make a difference from Russo’s impactful play from the start? Can White change the game as much as Russo?

England continued to impress with deep strength, Russo began to drop an effective pick from the bench. The forward also presents a tough test for a weary defence – no backline will want to see Russo out after an hour. She is an obvious danger and threat, which could also apply to White in different ways.

Finally, advancing to the Euro semi-finals, Wiegman will stick with White. She will want grass-court experience with Russo continuing to be her pick from the bench.

And the rest of England’s spine won’t be changed either. They have been pivotal to England’s success and will be crucial in beating Sweden on Tuesday night.

Knock-out stage…


Wednesday, July 20

Quarterfinals 1: England 2-1 Spain (AET)

Thursday, July 21

Quarterfinals 2: Germany 2-0 Austria

Friday, July 22

Quarterfinals 3: Sweden 1-0 Belgium

Saturday, July 23

Quarterfinals 4: France 1-0 Netherlands (AET)


Tuesday, July 26

Semi-final 1: England vs Sweden – starts at 8pm, Bramall Lane

Wednesday, July 27

Semi-final 2: Germany vs Franc – kick off at 8pm, Stadium MK


Sunday July 31

Semi-Final 1 Winner v Semi-Final 2 Winner – starts at 5pm, Wembley

Follow Euro 2022 on Sky Sports

Sky Sports News and Sports Sky’ Digital platforms will follow every step of England’s Euro 2022 journey ahead of Tuesday’s semi-final.

Along the way, the Sky Sports News Mobile Presentation bus will continue to bring you all the best guests and analysis from the likes of Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett to deliver. their professional details. Buses will run in central Sheffield ahead of England’s final four games, before heading to Wembley for the final.

On, the Sky Sports App and on social media, we’ll have all the big moments with our previews, features, reports, analytics, plus Sky Sports Women’s Euros podcast featuring Sky Sports senior football journalist Charlotte Marsh and Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui.

And if you’re new to England, don’t worry – Here is our guide to meeting the Lionesses.

As well as England, Sky Sports News and Digital Sky Sports will also cover all the knockouts as we head towards the final on July 31.

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