Alessia Russo on England’s ‘surreal’ Euro 2022 win and its ‘one-shot miracle’

But when the dust settles after the Liones’ historic 2-1 win at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, Russo insists it’s “just the beginning” for her team and she looks forward to a bright future for women’s football in England.

“The final was just an incredible day – the stadium, the event, all those fans were just surreal,” says the Manchester United striker. CNN Sports.

The Euro 2022 final was played in front of 87,192 spectators, a record number for a men’s and women’s European Championship final, while 17.4 million people across the UK watched the game on television, according to the BBC.

“I think this is just the beginning for us. We want to fill stadiums every week, of course we do, but we have to be realistic and we know it’s a process,” Russo adds.

“We just want more people to fall in love with this game and recognize that women’s football is great. The US is setting the bar but now the teams are catching up and it’s really exciting.”

Rousseau celebrating after the final whistle against Germany.
While Rousseau and England can now see what lies ahead for the team – next year’s World Cup qualifiers and meeting with senior USWNT – they can also reflect on the rollercoaster campaign in Europe.

The home advantage meant that England were among the favorites to win Euro 2022 long before the goal was scored, and expectations have only risen since the crushing 8-0 victory over Norway in the group stage.

“I think the media put pressure on us as soon as they found out that this was a home tournament,” says Russo, “but there was never any internal pressure.

“We were really good at keeping the bubble very closed and were very focused on the games…From day one we wanted to win the tournament but at the same time we realized that we needed to close everything outside. World.

“We didn’t even know how crazy it was going to be and it turned out to be 10 times crazier than we all thought… We were just so focused on training and enjoying each other’s company, we would switch off and go again. .”

England players celebrate victory in Trafalgar Square in London after beating Germany.

Also helped by the influence of coach Sarina Wigman, who has yet to lose a game against England, nor at the European Women’s Championship, which also led the Netherlands to victory in 2017, also helped, Rousseau said.

“I think we all enjoy playing under her,” Russo says. “There is something like a real calm about her. She is very relaxed both off the field and even on the sidelines. She doesn’t really get too hot or too hot at the moment – she’s very level-headed.”

Rousseau, 23, has been primarily used as a substitute throughout her England career and has come off the bench in all six of the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 games.

Her the fourth and last goal of the tournament was the most memorable – a superb, instinctive heel kick by Swedish goalkeeper Hedwig Lindahl that sparkled England’s 4-0 semi-final win.

“I don’t think I’ll ever score a goal like that again,” Russo says. “I think it was just a one-time miracle, but I’ll accept it.”

Russo lines up his heel against Sweden.
The goal quickly earned applause from women and beyond, including attention The great American Abby Wambach and Chelsea and Australia star Sam Kerr.

“I saw my old club where I grew up, they all trained in training, and it was nice,” Russo adds.

“And if it’s a goal or something else, it’s great to see women’s football leaving a mark on the world, among boys and girls. If it inspired one person to go and play football, I agree.”

Look at the return goal and the wild celebrations that followed, and it’s hard not to get inspired by Rousseau and the Lionesses.

The future of women’s football in England looks bright, but before Rousseau can begin to speculate about what it could be, she has more pressing priorities.

“The holiday is definitely coming,” she says. “It’s been a great few months, but I’m very tired and I need a little break.”