Alessia Russo stays grounded despite World Cup heroics

Sunday 02 Oct 2016
Alessia Russo celebrates her last-gasp equaliser against North Korea

England’s last-gasp hero Alessia Russo refused to get carried away despite scoring a dramatic late equaliser against North Korea in the Lionesses’ opening match at the FIFA Women’s U17 World Cup in Jordan.

Leading 2-1 at the break, John Griffiths’s side found themselves 3-2 down with just six minutes remaining.

But Chelsea forward Russo fired home a 94th-minute leveller to rescue an opening-day point.

England 3-3 North Korea

FIFA Women's U17 World Cup
Group C
Saturday 1 October 2016
King Abdullah II International Stadium, Amman, Jordan

She said: “It gives us a platform for the next game.

“When it went to 3-2, I thought we coped with that really well. We dug really deep and showed a great attitude. We never gave up and we fought right till the final whistle.

“The mood around camp is good but we’re not getting too excited. It was only a draw so now we just focus on the next game.

“Momentum was with them at that part of the game so it was good to get the goal. A draw is a much better platform going into the Nigeria game than a loss.”

Birmingham’s Ellie Brazil headed England in front on 10 minutes before Hyang Sim Sung levelled for the 2008 World Cup winners.

Man City’s Georgia Stanway restored England’s lead but goals from Pom Ui Kim and Kyong Hui Ko nudged North Korea ahead.

Step forward Russo.

Alessia Russo scores a 94th-minute equaliser against North Korea

Russo cracks home her 94th-minute equaliser

She explained: “I didn’t expect the ball to come my way. But it was the last few seconds of the game so I just wanted to get the shot on target.

“It was such a relief to see that ball go in. We never gave up, we fought till the end and it puts us in a much better position for the next game.”

Next up for the Young Lionesses is Nigeria, who lost their opening Group C match 1-0 to Brazil, on Tuesday afternoon (2pm BST KO).

Russo said: “We just have to prepare in the right way, as always. We need to put in another good performance and build on what we did against North Korea.”

She added: “It’s been an amazing experience. We’ve been here for a while now to acclimatise and the Jordanian people have been so welcoming.

“They were supportive of us at the game as well so we can only thank them.

“We’re all really enjoying the World Cup experience so far.”

By Glenn Lavery