Millie Bright hailed England’s “unbelievable” mentality to fight back from a goal behind to clinch an extra-time winner in the Euro 2022 quarter-final against Spain in Brighton.
The tournament hosts’ future in the competition had been threatened when Esther Gonzalez’s 54th-minute goal handed Spain the lead before Ella Toone took the game to extra time with an equaliser with six minutes of normal time remaining.
Georgia Stanway then made it a night the 28,994 fans in the Amex Stadium would remember by firing a stunner in extra time to send England into the semi-finals in a fourth successive major tournament.
“I think that everyone can see the talent of the Spanish team and can see what they have to offer in the game and we knew that we wouldn’t have the ball that much,” Bright, who was voted player of the match, said after the win.
“I think our mentality to stay ruthless throughout every minute of the game was unbelievable and I think we showed what we were about.”
Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman returned to the dugout for the clash having missed the final group game against Northern Ireland after testing positive for Covid-19.
It was only confirmed that Wiegman would be in the dugout in the afternoon of the quarter-final, and she admitted the emotions were running high after the match.
“I think I went a little crazy,” the head coach admitted.
“I was so happy, of course you try to stay calm but this was so close and was such a close game that could go both ways all the time, so I was so happy that we won.”
She added: “I think we showed resilience so we went behind and then from the 80th minute we changed a little shape and we scored a goal real quickly so we could go back to the shape and in extra time in the moment that we scored we were a little better, we were a little fresher.
“For the fans in the stadium and for the people watching on TV it was an incredible game and also for the fans in the stadium, they were so behind us it was really incredible to experience.”
Spain head coach Jorge Vilda admitted it was a difficult day for his squad after they dominated possession on the south coast.
“It’s a disappointing defeat and disappointing to go out of this competition. If there’s a good way to lose I think it’s by playing the sort of game that my players have done tonight,” Vilda said.
“We are all very proud of what we saw out on the pitch, we gave everything and now we have to keep our heads held high.
“We have a very good team here, there is a bright future ahead based on what we have seen at this tournament.
“It’s a difficult day for us.”