Kelly Smith Women’s Euro column: Britain could crush Northern Ireland and Germany looks ominous

15 Jul 2022 | 08:43

England legend Kelly Smith returns with her latest Women’s Euro 2022 column, focusing on England’s final game against Northern Ireland, the knockout stages and the golden boot.

‘It gives me goosebumps’

How can we start anywhere other than England crush Norway 8-0 in Brighton on Monday to go into the quarter-finals and win the group with a game to spare.

It was the best England performance of my life. From the opening against Austria full of tension and anxiety, it all just disappeared. They were hungry, motivated and on their feet from the very first minutes and the Norwegian just couldn’t cope.

The crowd certainly played a part and the penalty, which I’m not sure should have been given, clearly got England off to a start but went ahead and won 8-0 against a legendary side before the tournament to go to the final. is something else.

They tore them apart with decisive passes after setting things up with excellent attacking and pressing.

It was fantastic to play in front of so many fans at home and England were at their best, both playing the best they could and forcing their opponents to surrender.

People need to remember that Norway is not a promoter. I expect them to go far in this tournament, they are one of my dark horses.

The way England upset the crowd and the positivity that ran through the team really gave me goosebumps afterwards.

The emphasis doesn’t do it fairly.

Spain or Denmark – who does Britain want next?

They will be so confident that they have just beaten an established team with a score of 8-0. I don’t think England will mind who they play in the quarter-finals. It is true that they will believe that they are ready for whoever they face.

England vs Spain will be between two favorite pre-tournament teams and I personally think Spain is a much better team than Denmark.

They brought in some real technical quality from the individual players and played more as a team, but started slow in both games so far, conceding within a minute against Finland, fight back to win 4-1, and three minutes ago Germany continue to lose 2-0.

I’m insured Denmark won 1-0 against Finland and they don’t want to join the races. They struggled to beat a tough Finland, lacking any real quality in the final third by way of their last pass, needing a late Pernille Harder goal to win.

So I would lean towards wanting England to play Denmark, which will need the Danes to win their final Group B match against Spain.

Should Sarina foretell these changes?

With England already through to the quarter-finals, it’s clearly a much more important game than the last group stage game against Northern Ireland, so it’s a tough one for Sarina Wiegman to equal. between resting players and unstable motivation.

They’ll want to win the game, but I’d be surprised if she doesn’t use the opportunity to give the players a break.

I’ll keep the spine of the team like Mary Earps in goal, with Millie Bright and Leah Williamson in central defence, and then put a few other players out.

Rachel Daly got her foot stuck in the ground against Norway and her knees were shrill so she’ll probably sit out, and Lucy Bronze on the other side at right-back, I think will too. Demi Stokes and Jess Carter are probably participants.

Alessia Russo has scored so she can start now. Beth England hasn’t got a minute yet, so she’s another person who could also join. But that sounds like a lot of change, and too much presents its own risk.

Girls in yellow boots

For Beth Mead, whose performance against Norway was the best I’ve ever seen her in, and Ellen White, it was a tough match as they both had a desire to play well and score goals for the team. England, but it’s really all about the team, not the yellow boot.

If Mead isn’t picked and White (or vice versa), they’ll still support the other, but there’s probably going to be a bit of competition between the two of them because they want to win the warm-up gold.

But Sarina has to make the best decision for the team. No one cares about an England player ending up as the top scorer of the tournament if the team reaches the final.

And who knows, Alessia Russo could enter the golden boot race by scoring a few goals against Northern Ireland. Then we’ll have three players fight for it!

No chance for Northern Ireland

Whatever the England team pick, I can’t see anything but a comfortable win.

Northern Ireland performed very well as the lowest ranked team in the league, scored their first goal at Eurobut heading into this match, there must be an element of fear in witnessing what England did to Norway.

They will try to get rid of that fear, enjoy the chance to face another country at home, and do everything they can to try and win by making it difficult with five at home. behind and everyone behind the ball.

However, I don’t see them having any chance at all.

As for England, I hope they can put on another really good performance to keep their spirits and motivation going into the quarter-finals, whoever they face.

England vs Germany final at Wembley?

We’ll talk about this a bit more in our next round of the knockouts, but nobody really talks much about Germany – they look delicious. They probably like it that way right now because they’re in a comfortable position.

With them topping Group B and England topping Group A, we could watch the England-Germany final at Wembley sell out.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Or maybe we should do a little, England just won 8-0.

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