Published 16 June 2022 7 min read

'It's been an emotional rollercoaster...but we showed our character'

Written by:

Frank Smith

Millie Bright and Chloe Kelly react to England Women's 3-0 win over Belgium

Millie Bright believes England’s team showed the strength of their character after they beat Belgium 3-0 following ‘an emotional rollercoaster’ in recent days.

There were mixed emotions in camp this week, as dreams came true for many of the players when they were named in the squad for the home EUROs this summer but there was heartbreak for five of the Lionesses who missed out.

The England squad talk regularly about the family feel inside the camp and Bright acknowledged it had been an emotional few days but was pleased with the side’s performance at Molineux.

The vice-captain, who was making her 50th appearance for England, said: "It has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster the last few days and I think it has been a good test for the group and as a group, we have really pulled through. To come and perform tonight, to get a clean sheet and a good performance shows our character. 

“I finally got my 50th cap, it has flown by and more to come hopefully.” 

The England squad together after the victory over Belgium
The England squad together after the victory over Belgium

When asked what she was most pleased with, Bright said: "I think the resilience. Obviously, we have had quite a bit of time in camp with each other now, we have been working really hard after a tough season and the resilience to stay patient and to stay calm in the game. 

“In the first half, we had a lot of the ball and we couldn’t quite execute that finish. And then the subs coming on showed real energy and real quality and getting the goals was obviously what we wanted the whole game but sometimes it is going to take a bit of time. 

"It was a competitive game, it was a tough game but that is what we want and we needed; we wanted to control the game and know that the goals would come. 

“It is easy to get frustrated but it is about sticking to the game plan. We just needed to tidy up a few things. I think the chances we created in the first half were really good so I think we were unlucky not to get one in the first half. 

“I’m really proud of the group. Obviously, the first game but lots to take on. Football isn’t always going to be easy but we are looking forward to more tests.”

The Lionesses dominated the majority of the match on Thursday night but were unable to break down Belgium, who will also be competing in this summer’s EUROs, until the 62nd minute, when substitute Chloe Kelly scored her first England senior team goal through a deflected strike.

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Fellow replacement Rachel Daly doubled the lead four minutes later, before the win was rounded off with an own-goal in the final ten minutes.

It was a special night for Kelly after she recovered from a serious knee injury to make the EUROs squad on Wednesday and then scored her maiden goal the following day.

The Manchester City winger said: “It couldn't [have gone better]. It was brilliant to be back out there. To get a goal was an amazing experience." 

She continued: “It is brilliant. What a 24 hours it has been to get selected and to be out on the pitch with the girls. I am enjoying every moment. 

“It has been a whirlwind 24 hours to be here and to be in the squad. It is an amazing journey I have been on the last year. To be on the scoresheet is an amazing achievement for me and I am proud.”

When asked if she doubted whether she would be able to make the squad, Kelly replied: "Definitely not. I said from the start I wanted to be at the EUROs. I worked hard each day. I realise how much hard work I put in in my rehab." 

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