England 2-1 Spain (aet): Stanway stunner takes tenacious hosts through
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Georgia Stanway's spectacular extra-time strike took England into a second successive semi-final after Ella Toone had levelled late to cancel out Esther González's opener for Spain.
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England came from behind to beat Spain and reach the semi-finals of UEFA Women's EURO 2022 thanks to Georgia Stanway's stunning extra-time strike, Ella Toone having equalised late in normal time just as it looked as if an Esther González goal would be enough to end the hosts' hopes.
37' White strike ruled out for offside
54' González breaks deadlock with low shot
65' Earps palms away Del Castillo cross
84' Toone levels from Russo header
96' Stanway smashes in from 20 metres
Match in brief: England edge pulsating encounter
After the frantic opening exchanges with neither side able to gain control, Spain fashioned the first chance of note 16 minutes in, Mariona Caldentey curling a shot straight at Mary Earps from distance as the hosts found themselves pressed back for long periods.
Spain's precision passing was causing England problems, albeit without much to show by way of clear chances, while at the other end England threatened for the first time as half-time approached, Ellen White turning in a free-kick only for the offside flag to cut short her celebrations.
Spain were undeterred by that warning, however, and finally turned their possession into tangible reward nine minutes into the second period. Half-time substitute Athenea del Castillo beat Rachel Daly down the Spain right and advanced into the area before picking out Esther González inside the area, the Spain No9 taking a touch and firing low beyond Earps.
Sarina Wiegman responded swiftly, introducing Chloe Kelly, Alessia Russo and Toone in quick succession, but it was Spain who continued to show the greater cutting edge, Earps clawing away another Del Castillo delivery from under her crossbar.
Daly then tested Sandra Paños from distance – England's first shot on target, arriving in the 67th minute – as the hosts, scorers of a record 14 goals in the group stage, continued to toil going forward.
With an air of desperation beginning to creep in, Toone and Georgia Stanway both had shots blocked before Lauren Hemp lashed over as the ball pinballed around the Spain area. But just as it looked as if time was running away from England, two substitutes combined to come to their rescue, Russo rising highest to head down for Toone to volley in.
Roared on by almost 29,000 spectators, England pushed for a late winner, and although Spain survived to extra time, the reprieve was to be brief. With the hosts revived, Stanway was allowed to advance to unleash a thunderous shot from the edge of the area that left Paños clutching at air.
Now it was Spain forced to fight back, and seconds into the second period of extra time they showed their ongoing threat, Aitana Bonmatí stretching to prod just wide when well placed inside the area. Amaiur Sarriegi then had a shot blocked as England were forced to withstand some late pressure before the final whistle brought wild celebrations on the pitch and in the stands.
Player of the Match: Millie Bright (England)
"A leader in the England defensive line against a very fast and skilful Spain attack. Blocks, interceptions, aerial duels and tackles as well as quality distribution when in possession. Quality and consistency over 120 minutes."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Lynsey Hooper, England reporter
Spain were a stubborn challenge for England; they played with urgency and finesse throughout, pressing England high and throwing everything at them. This was about England's defensive players staying alert and then the whole team digging in and showing their heart. The relief on the final whistle was telling. This was a monumental effort from the Lionesses, who will have to recover swiftly for the semi-final, but they've passed a real test of character and the story continues.
Simon Hart, Spain reporter
La Roja looked to be semi-final-bound for much of the second half as substitute Del Castillo tormented Daly and served up González's goal. With Bonmatí and Caldentey excelling, they had been the team in control, keeping England at arm's length, yet once the hosts equalised, the momentum shifted and Spain could not halt it. They've showed terrific resilience in this campaign, overcoming setbacks such as Alexia Putellas's injury on the eve of the finals, but by the end, the well was dry. And tellingly, their 17 attempts ended with just four on target – and one goal.
Georgia Stanway, England match winner: "Unreal. That shows the level we're at. We get a setback and we come back. Job done. Focus on the semis. I wasn't too sure [if the shot was going in]. It's one to be proud of. I'll remember today. We put in a massive shift. We just have to enjoy this moment and crack on."
Ella Toone, England goalscorer: "We never gave up. It was the first time we've gone behind and we showed character and resilience. We pushed each other. Buzzing. The fans helped as well."
Millie Bright, Player of the Match: "It's just relief that the game is done. We were prepared for all scenarios; it was a difficult match and we're just relieved to have got the job done. You could see the talent of the Spanish team; we didn't have the ball much but our mentality and resilience was fantastic throughout."
Leah Williamson, England captain: "We knew our strengths and how vulnerable Spain could be. We were solid. I'm proud of the girls. Their goal was a lapse in concentration. That's the shift from group mentality to knockouts. We've proved we're resilient and can overcome tests. I'm so proud of them. We're serious, we back ourselves, we don't get caught up in it. At not one point did I think we were going home."
Sarina Wiegman, England coach: "Every game the subs have an influence, and that shows the depth in our team. Everyone is on the same page and everyone can start, but those that come in can make a difference. Everyone is so supportive and knows their role. We talk about all scenarios and we're prepared for them all. It starts with the quality of the players. We have so much quality in our team that it's easier to make substitutions because you know that the new players can make a difference."
Jorge Vilda, Spain coach: "It's a disappointing defeat and disappointing to go out of the competition, but if there's a good way to lose it's by playing as we did tonight. We gave everything but it wasn't to be. We've performed really well and there's a bright future ahead, but it's a difficult day for us."
Esther González, Spain goalscorer: "Today, the result is unfair. We competed very well and we gave everything. We knew what was at stake and produced our best game of the tournament. We carried on to the end. Even after it went to 1-1, we tried; we carried on attacking and creating chances. We defended incredibly. We tried right to the end."
- England have reached the Women's EURO semi-finals for the second edition in succession and the sixth overall.
- Both of Stanway's goals at Women's EURO 2022 have come at the Brighton & Hove Community Stadium.
- Toone has now scored 12 goals in her 19 England appearances.
- England have now scored 16 goals at Women's EURO 2022, the second most in tournament history behind Germany's 2009 total of 21.
- Spain's six goals at Women's EURO 2022 represent their tournament best, surpassing the five they scored in 2013.
- González's goal was the first England had conceded at this tournament.
- The crowd of 28,994 was a Women's EURO quarter-final record and the fifth highest attendance in tournament history.
England: Earps; Bronze, Bright, Williamson, Daly (Greenwood 82); Stanway, Walsh (Scott 116); Kirby (Toone 64); Mead (Kelly 58), White (Russo 58), Hemp (Parris 116)
Spain: Paños; Batlle, Paredes, Mapi León, Carmona; Bonmatí, Guijarro, Abelleira (Aleixandri 70); Cardona (Del Castillo 46), González (S. García 77), Caldentey (Sarriegi 100)
What comes next?
England play Sweden or Belgium in the first semi-final in Sheffield at 21:00 CET on Tuesday 26 July. The winners of that tie will be the nominal home side in the Sunday 31 July final at Wembley.