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Published 15 July 2022 4 min read
England Women's Senior Team

Veurink, Russo and Kirby react to Northern Ireland win

Written by:

James Reid

Lionesses trio give their thoughts on Friday's 5-0 victory in final EURO 2022 group stage game
England's assistant coach Arjen Veurink oversaw the Lionesses to a 5-0 win during Friday's UEFA EURO 2022 group stage game with Northern Ireland.

The Dutchman stood in for head coach Sarina Wiegman, who was absent from St. Mary's after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier in the day.

And Veurink was pleased with how the evening progressed, as England made it three wins from three in group A as they now turn their attentions to next Wednesday's quarter-final. 

“Really happy with the result, we created a lot of chances and scored a couple of good goals," said Veurink, after the game. 

"[We] Struggled a little bit in the beginning part of the first half, we couldn’t find the right spaces. After 30 minutes we found those spaces and you could see we have lots of quality in our team.

“They challenged us a little bit with their style of play, and it’s not always that easy to play against a team with a low block. You need lots of movements and lots of rotations and that was a specific thing that we were talking about during half time.”
Fran Kirby scored her first goal of the tournament in the win over Northern Ireland
Fran Kirby scored her first goal of the tournament in the win over Northern Ireland
The opening goal from Fran Kirby was a sight to behold too, with the forward curling an exquisite first-time shot into the top corner from the edge of the box, after an frustrating opening to the game for the Lionesses.

“Overall, really happy with the result and the win," said Kirby.

"We wanted to make sure we had a positive start today and I thought we did that, even if the goal didn’t come straight away. We had a really aggressive start and we’re really happy with the win.

“They [Northern Ireland] always make it difficult. They have a strong team, they know their setup, they know their game plan. It’s a massive credit to them for getting here, getting qualified and showing an amazing account of themselves – not just them but their fans as well who I think were incredible. They made it tough for us but we know we’re going to get chances and if we can put them in the back of the net then we’re in a good place.

“It [the feeling] never changes, scoring in a major tournament. Luckily for me, I’ve scored in every tournament I’ve played for England so far, so that’s a really special memory for me now. I’ve been getting myself in decent positions in previous games but maybe it hasn’t quite fallen for me, so today I thought put your foot through it and see what happens and luckily it went in the back of the net.

“I think we're really ready [for the knockouts]. The way everyone has handled themselves in this tournament so far has been amazing, everyone has put a shift in when they needed to, subs have come in off the bench and made a massive impact on games.

"This is what we need in order to get to these places. Tournament football is so different, it’s a case of who can be the freshest for longest and who can take their chances. We need to get over this win, get our recovery right, and get ready for the next game."

Alessia Russo heads home England's third goal with her first touch of the game
Alessia Russo heads home England's third goal with her first touch of the game
After scoring in the win over Norway earlier in the week, Alessia Russo made the same impact at St. Mary's as she came off the substitute's bench to stake her claim with two well-taken goals.

The first came with a firm header, before a neat turn and finish for her second to make it 4-0 had the crowd purring.

“I enjoy every game in an England shirt, to come on and score is great, I’m buzzing to get the three points and move onto the next stage of the tournament," said the Manchester United striker.

“I luckily got in the right place at the right time and was able to put them in the back of the net.

“Obviously I want to play every game for England, but I’ve just got to be patient. The girls did brilliant first-half and second, it took a while to break them down but we knew that they were going to put a block on and sit deep but we broke them down and got the two goals leading into half time."

England will be back in action on Wednesday 20 July, when they head back to Brighton for the first quarter-final tie of the competition.