Last Thursday, immediately after England's UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ quarter-final win against hosts Finland, Faye White flew home for surgery on a fractured cheekbone. A week on, she could be lifting the trophy.
The Arsenal LFC defender overcame the latest in a succession of serious injuries to reclaim a starting place when these finals began, but late in the first half of the last-eight meeting in Turku she was forced off after a clash of heads. Rushed back to England, she did not waste any time in returning for Sunday's 2-1 extra-time semi-final defeat of the Netherlands in Tampere and could, conceivably, play in the Helsinki decider against Germany on Thursday in a mask.
Back and forth
"Literally as soon as the game finished [against Finland] I went back to Helsinki, flew back home, had an operation on Friday, flew back on Saturday and got back to the hotel late," White told uefa.com. "I would have hated to have not been here and be able to watch it. It's been quite tiring but it makes a few days of pain, frustration, disappointment for myself personally all worth it, the fact the team went out and performed and got to the final."
White admits she does not make a good spectator. "Rubbish, I was all over the place," she said. "Nerves get worse when you are watching − you can't do anything about it." She did, however, feel good once the epic game was won four minutes from a potential penalty shoot-out. "It was nerve-racking towards the end," White added. "I think we had the better chances but it's fantastic. After our start to the tournament [losing 2-1 to Italy], to say we'd be in the final ... I think it's a credit to the girls how they've battled through and now we're in the final."
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