Few would have thought of it and even fewer would have tried it. Alessia Russo went to execute him. A heel while fleeing the goal which is not only passed between two defenders but between the two legs of the Swedish goalkeeper.
It was the moment in a summer of them. The English were already on course for the Euro 2022 final, but the third goal in their 4-0 semi-final win at Bramall Lane is the one everyone will remember. They have the nation. Will the trophy follow?
Viewership figures are high and rising, as are noise levels inside the stadium on Tuesday night. Captured imaginaries. Inspired individuals. But this group of English players, this English coach, wants more than that. They are one game away now.
After three straight semi-final defeats, England’s progress to the final was well deserved after a night that started under tension and ended in emphatic triumph. New questions were asked but Sarina Wiegman’s team still had the answers.
Without fail in the group stage, the victory against Spain in the quarter-finals went to the wire. On the face of it, it was much simpler once Beth Mead opened the scoring late in the first half and Lucy Bronze doubled the advantage early in the second.
But it was still just a test. Sweden are the highest-ranked team in Europe, the side that denied England third place at the World Cup in 2019. It has sometimes shown. Twenty seconds were enough for the first chance of the game as Mary Earps saved from Sofia Jakobsson.
It came from an area targeted by Sweden – the channel between Lucy Bronze and Millie Bright. Another perceived weakness was set pieces and Stina Blackstenius nearly exposed it when hitting the crossbar. It was all within nine minutes.
But there was no panic. England got through that nervousness. “We showed that we stayed calm, that we stick to the plan and that everyone continued to do their job.” These were the words of Wiegman after his spell against Spain. That mentality stayed here.
Bronze had had a rough start to the game, tested defensively and a little loose in ball possession. Mead remained silent. But the pair had the conviction and ability to change the mood and turn the momentum when combining for the opening goal.
Bronze’s cross was difficult for the Swedish defense to manage and not much easier for Mead to master. The Arsenal winger did it in an instant. The first touch was perfect. The second sent the ball into the net. His moment. His tournament.
The danger at the break was that England would sit back and settle for a one-goal lead, but Bronze’s header soon in the second half dispelled that idea. What followed, from Russo’s magical moment to Fran Kirby’s goal in his finest performance of the tournament, was a celebration that continued long after the final whistle.
The country has its psychoses since it has more than half a century of disappointments in major tournaments, whether male or female. These players don’t seem to share them despite their own near misses. The project is clear.
Wiegman stuck to it. An unchanged line-up in all five matches, despite, or maybe it should be because the impact of substitutes. England know their starters but they also know their finishers. Russo, again for Ellen White, did his best.
It’s Coming Home was the now familiar chant following that third goal. Maybe it is. A year after the men narrowly lost in a European final at Wembley, the women will have their own opportunity at the same venue on Sunday.
“We always thought we were going to get there,” Wiegman said of the win over Spain. After four goals against Sweden and an outrageous backheel, now everyone in the country thinks their England side will pull it off too.
England reach Euro 2022 final | The Audacious Genius of Russo | How the Lionesses rose to the challenge from Sweden
Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui are back after another huge night for England, who beat Sweden 4-0 to reach the Euro 2022 final at Wembley.
The pair look back on how England recovered from a nervous start to sweep Sweden, including a sensational goal from Alessia Russo. Plus, they look at where it went wrong for the Swedes.
Anton also chats with Russo, Beth Mead, Ellen White and Sweden’s Magdalena Eriksson to hear their reaction to the semi-final.
Follow Euro 2022 on Sky Sports
Sky Sports News and Sky Sports’ digital platforms will follow every step of England’s journey to Euro 2022 ahead of Sunday’s final.
On the road, the Sky Sports News Mobile Presentation bus will continue to bring you all the best guests and analysis from Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett offering their expert perspective. The bus will depart from Sheffield and head to Wembley for the final.
On SkySports.com, the Sky Sports app and on social media, we’ll be covering all the highlights with our previews, features, reports, analysis, plus the Sky Sports Women’s Euros podcast with Sky Sports senior football reporter, Charlotte Marsh. and Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui.
And if you’re new to the England squad, don’t worry – here’s our guide to meeting the Lionesses.
As well as England, Sky Sports News and Sky Sports digital will also be covering all knockout matches as we head into the showpiece final on July 31.