Leah Williamson has singled out Mary Earps for praise following her pivotal save during England’s 4-0 Euro 2022 semi-final victory over Sweden.
The Lionesses were leading 2-0 just after the hour mark thanks to goals from Beth Mead and Lucy Bronze, before a trio of substitutions sprung Sweden into life as they attempted to halve the deficit.
Earps pulled off a stunning stretching save to tip a Stina Blackstenius header over the bar, and moments later Alessia Russo went up the other end and scored an outrageous back heel to put the game beyond doubt.
England boss Sarina Wiegman has often been reluctant to talk about individual performances, shifting the emphasis onto the team as a whole, and this mentality has been adopted by the squad. However, Williamson was keen to highlight Earps’ display.
“You know what, I will speak about one individual because Mary made a save at a key moment in the game which was incredible – an incredible turning point for us,” Williamson said.
“We go up the other end and score and that’s what the team’s about. Two opposite ends of the pitch and everybody’s making it count. I think that moment deserves a shout out.
“Everybody today was absolutely incredible and delivered what they needed to and we go again Sunday.”
The victory saw England book their place in a women’s major tournament final for the first time since 2009, and the Lionesses will step out in front of a sell out home crowd at Wembley on Sunday as they attempt to lift their maiden piece of silverware. It is an occasion Williamson promises the team are going to relish.
“I’m not much of a smiler pre-game, I keep it pretty game-faced because I’m focused, but the last two national anthems I can’t help but smile because it feels amazing,” the England captain added.
“I know I said I’ve got a job to do but who says I can’t enjoy those moments and the team can’t enjoy those moments? That’s what I hope, that we’re giving off those vibes, because it’s genuine and the crowd can enjoy that with us.
“I hope that crowd at Wembley has as good of a time as we’re going to have, because I promise you we’re going to enjoy it.”