Saturday, July 13, 2024

Alessia Russo backs England to emulate women’s team and win Euro 2024

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Women’s Euro 2022 winner Alessia Russo is confident Gareth Southgate’s side will get the job done in Germany.

A Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands awaits on Wednesday but it has been far from plain sailing for the men, who have been criticised for some uninspiring performances.

Russo sees similarities with the women’s run to the final of last summer’s World Cup, where they finished runners-up, but said the manner of progress did not matter.

“I think in tournament football sometimes people perceive the games to be easier than they actually are in that moment,” she said.

England celebrate winning Euro 2022
England won Euro 2022 (Adam Davy/PA)

“I think you win and progress and that is all that matters. I think also as tournaments go on you do slowly begin to build form going through it and hopefully they will continue that tomorrow night.

“With us we kind of didn’t hear any of that noise – that’s important and I have no doubt the men are doing exactly that.

“When you are in tournament football all that matters is you win and progress and that’s what they have been doing, in tough times they have been finding ways to win.

“Obviously in an ideal world you’d like to play the best performance every single game but that’s not possible. I’m English and I think they are going to win it and hopefully they do.”

The squad travel to Norwich on Wednesday for their European Championship qualifier against the Republic of Ireland and there are plans for the whole squad to watch the semi-final, although there may be some tension in the room as head coach Sarina Wiegman and her assistant Arjan Veurink are both Dutch.

“Ultimately they are Dutch but they have a massive love for England too so you’ll have to ask her who she’s supporting,” added Russo, who rates winning the Euros as the highlight of her career.

“I know I’m only young but still it was just incredible. There is no greater feeling than winning a trophy with your country and I think any player who has played for their country would say the same.

“You know the work which has gone into it ahead of the tournament, you know the struggles and the highs and the lows throughout the tournament and to lift that trophy at the end of it is the biggest overwhelming feeling of joy.

“I think they will all know that and they are all very experienced players and they will know how to win.”

Their own game on Friday carries some significance as they currently sit third in their group with only the top two guaranteed automatic qualification.

“They (Republic) are a really tough side to come up against. They are tough, they are aggressive, very passionate and I think we felt that in the away game against them,” she said.

“But you come up against so many different oppositions in these qualifiers and definitely not an easy test coming up.”

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