Women's Euro 2022: Englishwoman Alessia Russo, the feminine "Messi"

Women’s Euro 2022: Englishwoman Alessia Russo, the feminine “Messi”

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Author of an anthology goal in the semi-final against Sweden, Alessia Russo is making a name for herself thanks to the Women’s Euro. The Manchester United striker is not a starter, but is effective every time she enters the field. She could still shine in the final against Germany.

Some have already elected it as THE goal of this Women’s Euro 2022. During the semi-final against Sweden, the Englishwoman Alessia Russo performed a stroke of genius which will remain as one of the striking images of the competition. At the 68e minute, after having stumbled on the Scandinavian goalkeeper, Hedvig Lindahl, she attempted a heel which passed between the legs of the Swede and which spun into the opposing goal.

On social networks, many football stars have not failed to greet this incredible inspiration. “I always dreamed of scoring such a goal. It never happened. Hats off to Alessia,” reacted American legend Abby Wambach. “I’m not going to lie. It was amazing,” also wrote Australian striker Sam Kerr. “The nerves you have to have, my god”, has for his part commented Team USA star Megan Rapinoe.

England manager Sarina Wiegman also congratulated her player during the press conference after her team qualified for the final against Germany: “It takes so much courage to make a gesture as unpredictable and phenomenal as that.”

Asked about this extraordinary goal, the main interested party, who is now nicknamed “Lessi”, a diminutive of Alessia in reference to Messi by English fans, quite simply said that she had tried it: “I I just thought it was the quickest way to get the ball into the net without having to turn around and I was lucky it worked.”

The supersubstitute

Since the start of the Euro, 23-year-old Alessia Russo has proven to be a luxury substitute. She scored four goals on 4 shots on target, while she did not start any match. It’s only been two years since she joined the senior English team after having climbed all the selections in hope. In twelve games in the Lionesses jersey, she has already scored eight goals.

The “Super-sub” (super-replacement) has been used to making an impression since a very young age. Born in Kent, she comes from an Italian family. His grandfather, a Sicilian, who arrived in Britain in the 1950s, was a great football fan. Alessia and her two brothers naturally turned to this sport. The little girl joined her first club at the age of 5. At the time, she was already so talented that she played on both the girls’ and boys’ teams.

After joining Charlton Academy, she is spotted by Chelsea. But the chemistry does not work and Alessia Russo decides to leave for Brighton. The young footballer then asks herself questions about the future of her career. Is football not too risky a choice? She finally accepts a scholarship to study in the United States, at the University of North Carolina. A decision that allows him to continue to practice his sport while obtaining a diploma. “The American game is very physical and fast. It focuses on the athletic aspect of the players,” she told the Telegraph. “The experience I gained in the United States is incredible.”

From North Carolina to Manchester United

After two years spent on the other side of the Atlantic, Alessia Russo finally decides to return home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Two months after her return, she signed a contract with her favorite club Manchester United. His beginnings are thunderous. She scored her first goal for the Mancunians against her former club Brighton & Hove Albion and was named Player of the Month for October 2020 with three goals and one assist in three appearances. At the same time, she joined the English selection. In November 2021, she became a legend by scoring a hat-trick against Latvia in just eleven minutes, a record for an Englishman, male and female players combined.

Sunday at Wembley, in the final against Germany, the challenge looks more difficult. Since the start of the tournament, the Frauen-Nationalmannschaft have conceded only one goal in the semi-final against the French. Despite this looming challenge and the huge expectation of English supporters, the striker remains zen. For Alessia Russo, the recipe for success is simple. “I think when you enjoy playing your football, you give your best, she summed up after qualifying. I just like playing football”.

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