Alessia Russo eyes more improvement despite England dominance at Euro 2022

Alessia Russo believes England still need to improve in a number of areas ahead of their Euro 2022 quarter-final despite having finished top of their group with a 100 per cent record.

The Lionesses brushed aside Northern Ireland 5-0 in Friday’s final Group A game in Southampton and reached the knock-out stages without conceding a goal while scoring 14 at the other end.

Russo has netted three times in as many games, including twice against Northern Ireland just minutes after being brought on at half-time, but despite England’s impressive performance she is striving for better.

“I think obviously the group stages have gone very well. I think we’ve grown in our performances, but also there are lots of things that we still need to improve on and still need to work on,” Russo said.

“So I think we’re in a good place. Not only in front of goal have we been good, but also defensively we’ve been solid, keeping three clean sheets is important to us.

“So yeah, we’re in a good place. But now this is where the pressure hits in this part of the tournament. We’ve got to be locked in and ready to go.”

England’s impressive performance occurred despite the absence of head coach Sarina Wiegman, who remained at the team hotel after testing positive for Covid-19. She could yet remain absent for England’s quarter-final clash.

Euro 2022 tournament progress (PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

England will face the runners-up from Group B – either Spain or Denmark – in Brighton on Wednesday.

Assistant coach Arjan Veurink said the Lionesses would be given time to recover ahead of their next match, having been afforded an extra day compared to their quarter-final opponents, who face each other on Saturday.

“We try to prepare really well for the game, so it’s all about recovery, refreshing ourselves. The players will get some time as well to enjoy themselves, and after that we will have a two-day lead in to the quarter finals,” Veurink said.

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