Euro 2022 winner Alessia Russo on making history, inspiring a generation and that viral backheel goal in the penalty shootout
On Sunday, Alessia Russo stood on the red carpet at the Emirates Stadium, on the eve of her team’s first match of the FA Women’s Super League season with Arsenal Ladies.
It was a celebration of her first major trophy with the Gunners Ladies, who beat Chelsea Ladies in last season’s Champions League. The win took Arsenal Ladies into the top three in the table, and it came on the back of a stunning penalty shootout as Russo struck a backheel goal to beat Chelsea. It also came in Russo’s first competitive match since giving birth to her first daughter, Mia, last November.
But for me, Russo may have just broken another record with her win. And by that, I mean she has played the biggest game of her career, or at least one-the biggest with the highest profile.
In fact, there are only a few women in history to have played in the biggest match of their careers before this weekend, and I’m certainly not going to list them off or share their names. And the reason is that there’s really no point.
Alessia Russo has played the biggest game of her career. It’s fair to say that on that night, it was her ‘dream match’ to win the FA Women’s Super League. It was, it was the end of an era, and she was playing alongside one of the best strikers in the world, as well as a squad that included some of the biggest players in their country. It was one of the most prestigious, and most iconic domestic trophies in women’s football.
But the game itself, it was the culmination of the story of one woman’s journey from the start to the end, all around a goal scored against her own team. That’s the thing about these high profile games, they are