England eliminated Spain in a stunning comeback

Georgia Stanway’s extra-time thunderbolt completed a comeback to defeat Spain 2-1 and send England into the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022.

England and Spain played out a nervy first half with neither side able to break the deadlock before Esther Gonzalez put Spain ahead from close range early in the second half.

The Lionesses equalised late on through a volley from substitute Ella Toone to force extra time before a rocket from Stanway saw England advance in front of a raucous Brighton crowd.

England were cautious as they faced their toughest test of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 so far with Spain putting pressure on goalkeeper Mary Earps from the get-go.

The tournament’s leading goalscorer Beth Mead was put under two physical challenges early on but England kept their composure to go toe to toe with Spain in the opening exchanges.

With 17 minutes gone, Earps was called into a simple save from the dynamic Mariona Caldentey before holding on to a tame shot from Mapi Leon.

Possession changed hands several times as both teams looked for the breakthrough, Aitana Bonmatí was forced into a long-range shot from a clearance of a Spanish corner as England’s defence stood firm.

The Lionesses were the first to have the ball in the back of the net as Ellen White poked home from close range on 37 minutes, but the goal was ruled out with Lucy Bronze judged offside in the build-up.

Georgia Stanway was brought down by Leon who went into the book as the sides went into half-time all square, and Jorge Vilda was the first to make a change, sending Athenea Del Castillo for Marta Cardona for the second half.

England started the second half brightly, but it was Spain who broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute as Del Castillo sent a cross into Gonzalez who rifled home to hand Spain the lead.

Sarina Wiegman responded by bringing on Chloe Kelly and Alessia Russo who had been influential throughout the group stage and helped to continue the Lionesses’ attacking intent.

Lauren Hemp was brought down in the penalty area but appeals for a spot kick were waved away by referee Stephanie Frappart.

Earps denied Spain a second with a fine one-handed save as she got a glove to Del Castillo’s cross-cum-shot with Millie Bright clearing on the line.

Rachel Daly provided England’s first shot on target with a long-range effort that was well met by Sandra Panos in goal.

With 15 minutes remaining, there was pinball in the penalty area as England saw multiple attempts shut down by Spain before a Hemp shot went wide.

Best friends Toone and Russo combined to bring England level with six minutes left of regular time as Russo headed down to Toone to volley home as the Brighton & Hove Community Stadium erupted.

The forward’s goal was enough to force extra time before Georgia Stanway’s powerful strike gave England the lead six minutes into extra time, the winger firing in from the edge of the box.

The Lionesses were resolute to hold off a Spanish equaliser as a record crowd for a Women’s Euro quarter-final cheered England to a famous win and a fourth successive semi-final at a major tournament.

Source: UEFA.com

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