Euro 2022 winner Alessia Russo on making history, inspiring a generation and that viral backheel goal
In the space of a week, women from the world’s top three nations were crowned as winners of the women’s football tournament in Paris. On the 24th of May, two days after the French league season kicked off, the women’s European Championship came to a thrilling climax in the Stade de France, a stadium that had been built by the city’s famous mayor, Jean-Marie Le Pen: one of the most expensive in the world.
France fans on the bench during the final match
With a capacity of 55,000, the world’s most famous football stadium was an impressive sight for the crowds assembled here. In the stands on the opposite side, the local French police presence was almost as intimidating. The match started out as a friendly against Spain at the Parc des Princes stadium before two games between Spain and England that finished in a scoreless draw.
The final against Sweden, however, was a real battle. At that stage, France were trailing by two goals, but they came back into the game to force a 1-1 draw and then take a 2-1 lead at the start of the second half. Sweden, however, rallied around the middle of their field, forcing France goalkeeper Nadine Angerer into some difficult saves. In what was a thrilling game, the French women’s team finally proved why they were so successful in France: they did not lose against Sweden, who won in the next two games against Ireland and Switzerland.
The game against Russia that followed was a tough one, but the women of France made sure that they would not be defeated. In an amazing performance, the French women found the net three times while the Germans shot once, the Spanish scored four times and the British had an impressive strike in a 3-0 win.
I’ve decided to write this post in Russian, because they speak almost entirely different languages, and the word “goal” is in Russian, not French.
Alessia Russo and her team
On the 24th, the Russian women received an unexpected shock. They had lost to the Netherlands in the semifinals, but a series of controversial calls against the Dutch referee meant that they did not advance, and therefore could not compete against Russia. In all