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In Focus: Five key talking points from England 2-1 Spain (aet)
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Sean Wilson
Georgia Stanway's long-distance stunner sent England into the Women's Euro 2022 semi-finals
Georgia Stanway's long-distance stunner sent England into the Women's Euro 2022 semi-finals

England came from behind to defeat Spain 2-1 after extra-time and reach the Women's Euro 2022 semi-finals. 

La Roja broke the deadlock in the second half through Esther Gonzalez and looked set to hold out.

But they were pegged back with just six minutes of normal time remaining by substitute Ella Toone. 

That goal forced extra-time and the Lionesses got their winner through Georgia Stanway's stunning strike to seal their spot in the last four. 

We pick out five key talking points from a dramatic clash in Brighton.

England out-possessed

In the group stages, only one side averaged more possession per game than England — Spain. 

La Roja's reputation for keeping the ball was not unwarranted and they hogged possession on the South Coast despite the quality of their opposition. 

It was not the same level of dominance to which they have become accustomed but Spain ended the match with 54% of the ball.

England will have to find a way to create chances when starved of the ball if they are to win Euro 2022.

Faulty full-backs

England's lack of a natural left-back appeared to have cost them dearly when Gonzalez put Spain 1-0 up. 

Rachel Daly has been head coach Sarina Wiegman's first choice throughout the tournament.

But the 30-year-old is not naturally left-footed and primarily plays as a forward at club level — and that lack of defensive nous was evident in the build-up to Spain's opener. 

Jorge Vilda's side targeted the Houston Dash ace and it was little surprise to see Alex Greenwood introduced in her place in the second half.

On the opposite side, the experienced Lucy Bronze was also made to work hard by her soon-to-be Barcelona team-mate Mariona Caldentey. 

The Spain attacker was one of La Roja's brightest sparks and kept Bronze pinned back, preventing her from making her customary raiding forward runs.

Star substitutes

Wiegman was bold with her substitutions against Spain — but they paid off. 

Her decision to replace tournament top scorer Beth Mead with less than an hour played appeared baffling and would have opened the manager up to criticism had England gone out. 

However, her changes proved inspired, with Toone netting the crucial leveller that forced extra-time. 

She was set up by fellow substitute Alessia Russo, who is averaging a goal or assist every 35 minutes at the tournament, and has managed nine direct goal involvements in just 11 games for England — eight of those coming off the bench. 

Even the decision to withdraw Mead paid dividends with Lauren Hemp switching to the right. It was from that side she provided the cross for the Lionesses' first.

Russo's role as an impact substitute could prove crucial in the latter stages of the competition — or Wiegman could even reward her with a starting place.

Stanway strike

Georgia Stanway scored the winner against Spain to take England to the semi-finals
Georgia Stanway scored the winner against Spain to take England to the semi-finals

After England forced extra-time, the momentum was with the Lionesses and Stanway was filled with confidence as she struck the ball sweetly into the back of the net from range. 

It was a sublime effort and a worthy winner in a high-stakes contest. 

Not only that, but Stanway's strike was the 100th goal England have bagged in just 18 games under Wiegman — a fitting effort to mark the occasion.

It also demonstrated real character — not just from the midfielder but the England squad as a whole. 

The Lionesses had only ever come from behind to win a game at the Euros once and the grit displayed tonight will be necessary for this group to become champions.

Bright bossing at the back

Millie Bright was a commanding presence in defence for England against Spain
Millie Bright was a commanding presence in defence for England against Spain

Few England players personify that grit more than centre-back Millie Bright. 

The defender was dominant in the air, commanding in the challenge and even posed a threat in the opposition box. 

Her steadying presence at the heart of the back four has been crucial for an England side who conceded their first goal of the tournament against La Roja. 

She may not grab the headlines but her contribution is certainly significant.

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