Georgia Stanway scored an extra-time winner to help England beat Spain 2-1 on Wednesday and advance to the Women’s European Championship semi-finals.
After 90 minutes, with the score 1-1, Spain gave Stanway room to strike a powerful shot from beyond the penalty area that soared over jumping goalkeeper Sandra Paos’ extended palm.
“Unreal. That just shows the level that we are at, we get a setback and we come back and do it. Job done and focus on the semis,” Stanway told the BBC. “It (the goal) is definitely one to be proud of, I will remember today, we put in a massive, massive shift. We are going to enjoy this moment and then crack on.”
After a goalless first half, Esther González gave Spain the lead in the 54th minute after a clever assist from Athenea Del Castillo. Sarina Wiegman’s shake-up paid off in the 84th minute, as two replacements combined to equalise the score, Alessia Russo heading a ball on for Ella Toone to volley in.
On Tuesday, England will face either Sweden or Belgium in its sixth semifinal appearance. England has never won the European Championship.
Spain, who had to skip the event due to the absence of injured Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, lost out on reaching the semifinals for the first time in 25 years.
Spain’s clever passing and fierce defending caused England problems from the outset, and winger Del Castillo was a force on the right flank after coming on at halfway.
She beat left-back Rachel Daly and cut the ball back for González to thump it low past goalkeeper Mary Earps, England’s first goal of the tournament.
Sarina Wiegman, back in the stadium after missing the previous game due to a positive COVID-19 test, stirred things up by replacing Ellen White and Beth Mead, who had combined for seven goals in the group stage, followed by fellow regular Fran Kirby.
The payback for Wiegman’s changes came when Stanway’s cross was turned on by Russo for fellow substitute Toone to volley in her first goal of Euro 2022 in front of a full home crowd.
Spain claimed Russo fouled captain Irene Paredes while battling for the ball, but the referee dismissed the claim.
After Stanway put England ahead six minutes into extra time, Spain rushed forward in the hopes of forcing a penalty shootout.
From a favourable position, Aitana Bonmati fired wide, and goalkeeper Paos went into attack at a corner, the ball rebounding off her head and out of danger.
The final whistle sparked exuberant England celebrations as players completed a lap of the field dancing and singing with the English crowd.