Euro 2022 winner Alessia Russo on making history, inspiring a generation and that viral backheel goal
Alessia Russo has broken an age-old record.
The 18-year-old, who is now a student at the University of Central Lancashire, is the first Australian to win the prestigious women’s football World Cup title.
‘I honestly don’t believe it,’ she said on Sunday night.
‘To win the World Cup — that is a dream come true for me and I always will be.
‘I wanted to play with the whole team and I felt really proud the way they supported me and the way they did in the final.’
Russo became the first ever Australian to win the iconic World Cup when she joined Argentina (later Barcelona) in her first game against Germany in the semi-final.
She became the youngest player to score in a World Cup game, in the third minute of injury time, as Brazil beat Germany in the final.
She joined Australia’s 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup-winning squad in April, in time for the final.
Russo was born in Italy and is from Lilliard Park, Sydney’s western suburb.
Her family moved to Australia when she was six in a bid to escape the violence and corruption in her home country.
‘I was very lucky with my family to grow up in a great country,’ she said on Sunday night.
‘People say that Australia is a very rich country but not a very wealthy country. I didn’t come here for money.
‘I came here to experience my football career and I can honestly say that I’ve lived a dream. It’s amazing to think that I’m the first Australian woman to win a World Cup.’
Sydney-born, the Sydney Morning Herald described her as the ultimate Australian-born footballer.
‘If it’s not her, it’s someone like her,’ she said of Sydney’s other World Cup winner, Caitlin Moran.
Asked what she thought of Moran, she said: ‘She’s brilliant.
‘She’s like me. She’s a very strong person and great competitor