Manchester United’s Mary Earps and Alessia Russo phenomenal in Lionesses’ semi-final victory – Man United News And Transfer News
The Manchester United girls were the talking point of the Lionesses semi-final victory over Sweden at the Euros. For the first time since 2009 England have made it to a final.
The scoreline wasn’t reflective of how hard the game was for England as within the first minute Earps found herself with work to do as the Swedish attack danced around the Lionesses’ back line, but Earps stood tall and moved her feet well to block the ball.
It may have been the first but it wouldn’t be the last, as moments later Earps found herself having to pull off a diving save to deny Sweden again who were all over England.
The team ranked second in the world seemed to have the upper hand but they couldn’t bury their chances and it was all thanks to England’s and United’s number one!
The breakthrough came against the run of play for England after 34 minutes as Beth Mead was given time to control the ball, swivel and power a shot in from six yards out.
From that point England grew into the game as they came close again before half time.
Three minutes after the break, England found themselves with a corner. Lucy Bronze rose to meet it and headed it home but a nervy few minutes followed as VAR checked for an offside.
The goal stood and with a 2-0 cushion England confidently strutted their way through the rest of the game with Sweden scrambling to get back into it.
They almost did as a looping shot came in but once again, Mary Earps was there with a world class save as it looked to dip under the bar her fingertips tipped it over.
Knowing the importance, her teammates rushed to congratulate and thank her for her efforts.
Sweden were coming again with their set pieces but the keeper and the defence kept the threat to a minimum.
Just as they were gaining momentum though, super sub Alessia Russo entered the game and immediately made an impact with a fantastic run and a curling cross into Lauren Hemp who hit it onto the crossbar.
Moments later, a patient passage of play was rewarded by the goal of the tournament so far. Fran Kirby made a brilliant burst into the box, squared it to Russo whos shot was blocked but as she retrieved the ball she cheekily back heeled it goalwards and made it three as it went through the keepers legs.
The commentary team couldn’t believe it, the fans couldn’t believe it and Russo probably couldn’t either!
Kirby put the cherry on top of the cake as she chipped it over the keeper for a fourth. All the while Sweden knocked at the door but Earps was flawless in front of goal.
It was a phenomenal second half display from the Lionesses but the impact that the three United girls have had all tournament has been truly outstanding.