The secret of the goal that announced Alessia Russo to the world, the out-of-nowhere backheel that stunned Sweden during England’s run to the European Championship last summer, was that Russo wasn’t sure it would happen. That the ball went in the net was, in her words, “maybe luck, maybe instinct.”
Last week, the goal she scored to open her account at her first World Cup was something else altogether: a silky first touch, an effortless shift of her weight, a confident finish into the lower left corner. That goal was a striker’s finish, the first of what Russo, and England, hopes will be many more.
“I play my best football when I’m feeling good and happy and confident,” the 24-year-old Russo said.
That on-pitch confidence, though, has not always been evident in Russo’s performances in the gap between that goal and her latest one.
In fact, her goal in England’s 6-1 hammering of China ended a six-month international goal drought for Russo. In the interim, she had found herself battling for a place as the team’s starting striker with Rachel Daly. In an interview in England before the World Cup, Russo admitted that it had been a lesson in patience but also a learning experience in what it takes to keep a place on one of the world’s best teams.
“All I can do is focus on myself, my game, what I can do to get better and how ready I can be going into the summer,” she said. “And that’s all I can control.”
Could the knockout stages, then, be liftoff for Russo? Despite the injuries to several key players that marred preparations for England and continued in Australia, the European champions have been building momentum ahead of their meeting with Nigeria on Monday in the round of 16. Midfielder Lauren James has emerged as a star in midfield, and Russo is poised to benefit.
“She just really has a feeling for scoring goals,” England’s coach, Sarina Wiegman, said. “She is a good header. She has a good shot. She just is a real No. 9.”
The statistics speak for themselves. Russo has scored 12 goals in 25 England appearances, among them an 11-minute hat trick — the fastest ever scored by an England women’s player.
Such is her status that, earlier this year, she was the subject of two world-record transfer bids. Her club at the time, Manchester United, rejected both, but she has since joined Arsenal, the suitor that made both offers, on a free transfer after her United contract expired.
Her rise, off the back of her performances in England’s triumph at the European Championship last year, has come at a historic time for the women’s game. Record viewing figures. Sold-out stadiums. And, as Russo knows all too well, competitive transfer windows.
“It’s what we’ve wanted for the women’s game, for years and years,” she said. She wants the clamor to continue: “I hope to still see it climbing the way it is now. The stages it deserves. The crowds it deserves, which we’re all getting now.”
Russo is still one of the younger players on her squad. But she is different in that she is used to being fully professional, something that not all of her teammates have experienced. England’s right back Lucy Bronze, for example, once worked at Domino’s Pizza as she made her way as a pro and an international.
“There’s some really, really humbling stories that you hear of older players that have had to work crazy hours and then go to training and then travel to games,” Russo said. “And it’s just like, ‘How was that a thing?’”
For Russo, soccer was always an easy choice. She grew up playing with her two older brothers in the yard and, at times, in the house, “until Mom would tell us off for kicking the ball inside.”
She began her youth career at Charlton Athletic and later joined Chelsea before moving to the United States to play for the University of North Carolina. She only returned to England in 2020, after signing for Manchester United, the club she grew up supporting.
Despite her path through professional teams and elite programs, though, Russo admitted to grappling with her newfound fame after the Euros. Before her team became European champions, she had a “pretty normal life,” she said. And now? “That’s changed.”
“Your life,” she said, “completely changes after one tournament.” And stardom, she found — part of the same growth that has raised the value of players and the profile of the game — has proved difficult at times.
“The attention that comes with women’s football now is hard to manage as a player,” she said.
So after a quiet start to the World Cup, Russo has made her entrance. Next up: a tough encounter during England’s round-of-16 match against Nigeria, which beat the home team, Australia, and helped eliminate the Olympic champion, Canada, in the group stage.
This spring, Russo said she was confident that the goals, and the wins, would eventually come. Now both are here, and England is thinking bigger.
“You go into every single tournament wanting and expecting to win,” she said. The European Championship, she said, lit a “fire to want to go and win more.” Lifting the World Cup would be the ultimate next step.
“I just want to win,” she said, “as much as I can.”
By: Ella Braidwood
Title: Alessia Russo Is Ready for Her Next Big Moment
Sourced From: www.nytimes.com/2023/08/06/sports/soccer/world-cup-alessia-russo-england.html
Published Date: Sun, 06 Aug 2023 14:05:13 +0000
Did the Golden Globes Finally Figure Out How to Award Best Popular Film?
It didn’t work for the Oscars. But the Globes aren’t the Oscars.
Title: Did the Golden Globes Finally Figure Out How to Award Best Popular Film?
Sourced From: www.indiewire.com/awards/industry/golden-globes-award-best-popular-film-analysis-1234909167/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2023 19:43:09 +0000
Did you miss our previous article…
‘Gone With the Wind’ Star Hattie McDaniel’s Missing Oscar to Be Replaced
Missing for decades, the first-ever Oscar won by a Black actor, Gone With the Wind's Hattie McDaniel, will be replaced. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will donate the replica award to Howard University. Deadline reports that the award will be donated to the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at the University. McDaniel won the original award in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance as Mammy in 1939's Gone with the Wind.
By: Rob London
Title: ‘Gone With the Wind’ Star Hattie McDaniel’s Missing Oscar to Be Replaced
Sourced From: collider.com/gone-with-the-wind-hattie-mcdaniel-missing-oscar-replacement/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2023 20:25:43 GMT
Did you miss our previous article…
NFL MVP Odds: Tua Tagovailoa Is Now The Outright Leader Over Patrick Mahomes
NFL MVP Odds: Tua Tagovailoa Is Now The Outright Leader Over Patrick Mahomes – originally posted on Sportslens.com
For the second time in three weeks, the Miami Dolphins put on a historic offensive showing on Sunday. They scored the 3rd most points in NFL history against the Broncos, even forfeiting a chance at breaking the record of 73. It was a well-rounded effort that thrived in both the rushing and passing attacks, and it has quarterback Tua Tagovailoa all by himself when it comes to the favorite to win the NFL’s MVP award.
Tua Tagovailoa Is Now The Overall Favorite For NFL MVP
Tua is on pace for:
5,600 passing yards
MVP. #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/Of98mwvs3M
— 𝙁𝙞𝙣𝙨 (@FinsPhanatics) September 25, 2023
The award was Patrick Mahomes’ to lose. The Chiefs quarterback is the reigning MVP of the NFL, and he entered the season with the shortest odds to repeat (+600). He was the outright favorite, but trailing close behind were guys like Josh Allen and Joe Burrow. Mahomes and the Chiefs got out to a rough start in Week 1, as did the other MVP candidates.
But not Tagovailoa. His 466 yard, 3 touchdown performance vaulted him to the top of the leader board, where he took a share of the lead with Mahomes at +650 going into Week 2. Tua’s performance against the Patriots in the second game was solid enough to keep him near the top, but the top of the leaderboard was cluttered heading into Week 3.
The clutter is gone. Tagovailoa led the Dolphins to their historic 70 point day, completing 89% of his passes en route to 309 yards and 4 touchdown passes. He achieved those numbers in just three quarters of play, and the oddsmakers at the sports books have taken notice.
Big Test For Tagovailoa And Miami In Week 4
Tua Tagovailoa ranks this season
Wins 3 t-1st
Pass Rating 121.9 1st
TD/att. 7.9% 1st
Yards/att. 10.1 1st
Yards/comp. 14.2 1st
he’s doing it again, you guys pic.twitter.com/9RscVnwqDu
— NFL on CBS (@NFLonCBS) September 25, 2023
As of Monday morning, Tagovailoa was listed as the heavy favorite to win the NFL MVP award, coming in at +400, the shortest of any MVP odds so far this season. Mahomes was listed at +700 at the time of writing, though that number is subject to heavy change. The public will believe that Mahomes will eventually win the MVP award until it is firmly taken out of his grasp, and the more that they bet on him with longer odds, the more his number will come down.
Will it last? Tagovailoa and the Dolphins will face their biggest test of the young season this coming Sunday, as they travel to Buffalo to face the division rival Bills. They have had one of the top-2 defenses in the league through the first three games, and are familiar with Tua and the Dolphins, having played against them three times last year.
The Bills are currently 2.5 point favorites for Sunday’s game.
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From Sportslens.com – NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB News, Rumors & Betting Picks
By: Anthony R. Cardenas
Title: NFL MVP Odds: Tua Tagovailoa Is Now The Outright Leader Over Patrick Mahomes
Sourced From: sportslens.com/news/nfl-mvp-odds-tua-tagovailoa-is-now-the-outright-leader-over-patrick-mahomes/
Published Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2023 18:26:02 +0000
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