England fans go wild for Alessia Russo's backheel against Sweden

‘Goal of the year!’: Ecstatic England fans go WILD for Alessia Russo’s audacious backheel effort in 4-0 Euro 2022 semi-final win over Sweden as Ian Wright dubs the Manchester United striker ‘Lessi’ after stunning cameo

  • Alessia Russo came off the bench to score a stunning third goal for England
  • Having had a shot saved she backheeled the ball through Hedvig Lindahl’s legs 
  • She is joint-second top scorer at the Women’s Euros with four substitute goals
  • England beat Sweden 4-0 and now face either Germany or France in the final

Alessia Russo scored England’s third goal in emphatic fashion on the way to the Lionesses’ stunning 4-0 win over Sweden at Bramall Lane. 

Russo appeared to have squandered a great opportunity when she had a close-range shot saved by Hedvig Lindahl, before shrugging of the Swedish defence and backheeling the ball through the veteran goalkeeper’s legs in an outrageous show of skill. 

Russo is now the joint-second top scorer at the tournament with all four of her goals all coming from the bench, which has left some viewers – including England and Arsenal legend Ian Wright – confused as to why she is not starting. 

Alessia Russo came off the bench again to score the third in England’s 4-0 mauling of Sweden

Wright likened Russo to Argentine great Lionel Messi, saying: ‘”Lessi”, not Messi, for what she [Russo] has done when she comes on. I don’t know what she has to do to start a game.

‘The improvisation is fantastic. When she came on she instantly made an impact. She links play. I’m not sure what more she needs to do to start. 

‘When you look at Ellen White’s contribution over the years you can’t question it. But she hasn’t done enough in this tournament. 

‘This girl [Russo] is doing it. I don’t think Wiegman will change it.’

Wiegman herself said: ‘You must have so much courage to do such an unpredictable and phenomenal thing like that, no one could react to it. That was so nice to watch.’ 

Ian Wright called Russo ‘Lessi’ – likening her name to that of Argentina talisman Lionel Messi

Chelsea’s Australia star Sam Kerr, who has scored her fair share of incredible goals, said: ‘Not gonna lie, that was lit from Russo.’

Piers Morgan stated: ‘Honestly one of the best goals ever scored, by any kind of human being.’ 

And Chris Kamara began to chorus the song that is now sweeping the country for the second time in a year, adding: ‘Fran Kirby makes it 4-0. But what about Alessia Russo with the cheeky back heel. It’s coming home!’

Many fans just could not get their heads around the Manchester United forward’s goal, with one Twitter user saying: ‘Just watching this on a loop for the next 5 days’

A second fan echoed the sentiment, adding: ‘That was ridiculous!!’ 

Another user added that it was likely the best goal we would see all year, simply stating: ‘Goal of the year.’

And a fourth user went one step further, suggesting it would win the award for the best goal scored all year by saying: ‘I’m sorry but this is scenes, Puskas level.’

One fan followed Wright’s suit and compared Russo to two of football’s all-time greats, suggesting: ‘If Ronaldo or Messi had scored that, it would be talked about for years #Russo #Lionesses.’

Whether or not Russo will start in the final, though, is a different matter. On the one hand, anyone who can score four goals in five games deserves a place in the team, but, on the other hand, with England playing so well Sarina Wiegman will be loathe to make any changes.

After a nervous start for England, Beth Mead – the tournament’s top scorer with six – opened the scoring in the first half on 34 minutes, before Lucy Bronze made it 2-0 with a free header inside the Sweden penalty area just after the interval. 

Russo replaced Ellen White just before the hour mark, her wondergoal coming in the 68th minute, and Fran Kirby put the final nail in Sweden’s EUROs coffin in the 76th minute with a chip which Lindahl should really have done better with. 

The Lionesses will now meet either France or powerhouses Germany in the showpiece final, which will be played at Wembley on Sunday, 31 July. 

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