The party was almost over, but then Ella Toon showed up, and everything went wild again. Scored a goal and close to relegation with six minutes to go, England were hurt by a superior team from Spain, but a late equalizer from Manchester United put them into extra time, where Georgia Stanway landed a direct hit. comics to carry them into the last four. Next stop on this wild ride: Sheffield.
It wasn’t until after 10pm that they started singing It’s Coming Home here, it was so hard. Now, finally, they could believe that it really could be, which doesn’t mean they won’t suffer more – oh, they will – but by the end of the game, the England players were already standing at the edge of the field and singing Sweet Caroline. “So good, so good,” they sang, and so it was. It was a great match worthy of both teams. The heroic, exhausting event they will never forget.
Spain shone, but England resisted and rebelled, parrying a shot by Esther Gonzalez – the first blow missed in the tournament, threatening to end it ahead of schedule for the hosts. At the end of the day, though, it’s England that’s still on its feet, the goal that got them there, one of those moments that you could see unfold and could very well watch over the years as Stanway stepped forward that everyone desired. and let me fly.
It was in the 105th minute but still not over, the hugely impressive Aytana Bonmati shot wide in extra time with Spain now desperately looking for a way back like England before them and Sandra Paños in England’s zone. when the clock reached 120. Eventually, however, the drums beat, the lights shone, and the English submarines ran out onto the field and into the arms of their crewmates, the music began to play. The Spanish footballers looked broken, their greatest moment brutally taken from them.
It was surprising that any of them could still move after that. They were only playing for five seconds when the first player went down, Ellen White punched Mapi Leon in the face and it seemed to set up a game that was at times insane and became one of the highest quality. By the time the quarter-hour approached, there were as many players on the pitch as there were minutes played during the period in which heels broke and lungs ruptured; the press was high, relentless.
Gradually, Spain pulled themselves together, and as soon as they did, they began to tighten the screw. Bonmati, given a degree of freedom to the left of the midfield, glided, her movements were elegant and her possession of the ball impeccable. On the right, Marion Kaldentey was busy and involved. Up front, Gonzalez just kept pressing. The full-backs quickly rushed to the attack, not giving England free space where they could run. Not only did the hosts struggle to get the ball, they couldn’t even launch a counterattack, they weren’t given any time to rest or the ball to play.
White got the ball into the net first, but this was ruled out for offside, but Spain’s dominance gave them an advantage early in the second half and grew thereafter. Kaldentei and Bonmati were in the spotlight, but it was an extremely impressive half-time replacement, Athenaeus del Castillo, who did just that. She put the ball through Rachel Daly’s legs superbly, rushed into the box and pulled it back for Gonzalez to beat Mary Earps for the first time.
Sarina Wigman’s response was bold, White and Beth Mead introverted. England may have had a way back when Lauren Hemp filed an appeal against a penalty shot downed by Ona Battlele. On the other hand, Earps had to fend off Del Castillo – a save that proved to be decisive. Del Castillo had beaten Daly on numerous occasions and a second Spain goal now seemed like a likely scenario.
England kept advancing though, with Irene Paredes blocking shots from Thun and Stanway before the ball landed on Hemp in the penalty area, only for the shot to fly over him. Spain tried to fight their way to safety, Caldentay and Bonmati hit at times, and nearly ended it when Leah Williamson was forced to block Sheila Garcia, but England weren’t turned down. As the clock drew to a close, the Cannabis serve was excellent and Alessia Russo, as she often did, jumped ahead. The ball fell on Thun, who extended his leg to volley, England’s vitals returned.
Spain were hurt and left for a moment complaining about the foul. England is back. Nerves were on edge, and bodies were tired, but the second goal was a worthy end to a wonderful event. Rushing forward, Stanway’s shot pierced the air and took the whole country with it, now the party was rocking.
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