Football Features

“Goodnight Irene!” – Player ratings as England come from behind to beat Spain and book Euro 2022 semi-final spot

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 23:00, 20 July 2022

In a heart-stopping night of football, England came from behind to beat Spain 2-1 in the Euro 2022 quarter-final.

“Spain played us off the park, but we found a way of getting it done,” said Ian Wright after the match, and that reductive description was actually remarkably accurate. Spain were the dominant force but England had the strength and drive to win the game.

Here’s how the players rated at the AMEX Stadium:

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Mary Earps – 7 – Made some big saves when called upon. Was left helpless by her defence for Spain’s goal.

Lucy Bronze – 8 – Failed to dominate in attack, but was such a decisive presence at the back. Continually helped out and appeared just in time to make decisive interventions for England.

Millie Bright – 9 – Dominant again. Went up-front at the end and destabilised the Spanish defence ahead of England’s equaliser but her best work was in defence. “She’s been absolutely monstrous tonight,” was the way commentary described her display, and they were right.

Leah Williamson – 6 – Slow to close on Esther for Spain’s goal. Struggled a bit with Spain’s movement.

Rachel Daly – 3 – A comfortable first-half but absolutely tormented by half-time sub Athenea del Castillo. Got rinsed time and time again, including a brutal nutmeg just before Spain’s goal.

Keira Walsh – 7 – Completely bamboozled for 70 minutes before Jorge Vilda’s subs opened up space for her to play her passes, which she did with astounding accuracy.

Georgia Stanway – 9 – A gorgeous reverse cross was the perfect pre-assist for England’s equaliser and then she won the day in extra-time with a thunderstrike worthy of The Mighty Thor. When Beth Mead and Fran Kirby struggled, Georgia Stanway stood tall and guided England into the semi-finals of Euro 2022. Superheroic.

“Unreal. That just shows the level that we’re at. We get a set-back, but we come back and we do it,” said Stanway after the game And, of her goal, she said “it’s definitely one to be proud of.”

Beth Mead – 4 – Really poor. Completely overawed by Aitana Bonmati.

Fran Kirby – 4 – Just got bypassed.

Lauren Hemp – 5 – Good headed chance knocked wide. Couldn’t really impact the game but worked hard defensively.

Ellen White – 4 – Missed a great headed chance 9 minutes in. Scored late in the first-half but it was ruled out for a fractional offside. That was as good as it got for White who was subbed off before the hour mark.

England Substitutes:

Alessia Russo (for White 58′) – x – Instantly gave Spain more trouble than White with her rugged, aggressive approach. Her towering assist for England’s equaliser was the best

Chloe Kelly (for Mead 59′) – 7 – Added some drive.

Ella Toone (for Kirby 64′) – 7 – Scored England’s equaliser after a beautiful curving run was capped with an unerring finish.

Alex Greenwood (for Daly 82′) – 7 – Much, much more solid than Daly and helped stop Athenea’s rampage.

Jill Scott (for Walsh 116′) – n/a – Came on late to earn her 159th cap

Nikita Parris (for Hemp 117′) – n/a – Came on late.

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Sandra Panos – 6 – Did well but could do little about England’s goals.

Ona Batlle – 7 – A fierce performance that occasionally boiled over.

Irene Paredes – 7 – Impressive performance except for the key moment where she got absolutely dominated in the air by Alessia Russo for England’s equaliser. Can perhaps be justifiably upset about not getting a foul called there, but ultimately she wasn’t strong enough. Goodnight Irene!

Mapi Leon – 6 – Fantastic in general play. Constantly dug Spain out of holes with her recovery defending. However both England goals were her fault: she failed to get back into position, allowing Toone to steal in and score the equaliser. Then she failed to step up to confront Stanway, giving her room to launch her rocket.

Olga Carmona – 7 – Scuffed a great crossing chance early but recovered to put in a good shift.

Patri – 8 – Bright start, impactful in possession, put it on a plate for Cardona only for her to miss. Was excellent for the whole game, and had Jorge Vilda trusted her to run the pivot spot herself late in the game, maybe Spain would be in the semi-finals right now.

Aitana Bonmati – 9 – Simply majestic. Head and shoulders above every other attacking player on the pitch in terms of on-pitch dominance. Even without the injured Alexia Putellas, Aitana ran the show from start to finish. A shame no one could step up and join her.

Teresa Abelleira – 7 – Not as resplendent as her midfield team-mates but still helped Spain maintain a high tempo and true control of the match. Vilda replacing her with the more defensive Laia is where it began to go wrong for Spain.

Marta Cardona – 4 – Missed a sitter of a chance at the back-post from a Patri header down. Went with her legs but should have tried to head it. Great pressing though, and perhaps ran herself ragged and was subbed off at half-time.

Mariona Caldentay – 7 – Constantly raised hell for England, but just couldn’t get enough good passes.

Esther Gonzalez – 7 – Didn’t see much of the ball, but was still decisive for Spain. Took a terrible touch but still recovered to slide the ball into the back of the net.

Spain Substitutes:

Athenea del Castillo (for Cardona 46′) – 8 – Had more bite than Cardona, skinning Rachel Daly to put the ball on a plate for Esther’s opener. She tortured Daly so much that she had to be subbed off.

Laia Aleixandri (for Teresa 71′) – 5 – It wasn’t her fault, but Laia’s introduction is what spurred England to take control of the game.

Sheila Garcia (for Esther 78′) – 7 – Added lots of drive on the right, showing her balance and skill and causing danger for England.

Amaiur Sarriegi (for Mariona 100′) – 6 – Spain’s deadly striker came on late and you can see why there has been a clamour for her to play. Gave England hell almost every time they got her the ball and you wonder, had she been more fit and sharp, Spain might have stood more of a chance.