Sunday 05 August 2018, 18:30

Scoring against Koreans a happy habit for Russo

  • Alessia Russo scored twice in England’s opening day win

  • The striker also scored against Korea DPR at the last U-17 Women’s World Cup

  • Young Lionesses focused on playing attacking football at France 2018

Scoring goals is what drives Alessia Russo as a player, no matter the opponent she and her team-mates are facing. Yet, after her performance in England’s opening match at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018, the forward will likely savour facing Korea DPR at every opportunity.

Her fortune of scoring against the East Asians goes back to the last edition of the U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan, as her stoppage-time strike earned England a 3-3 draw in Amman. Move forward to Sunday in Dinan-Lehon, and the 19-year-old could be faulted for feeling a bit of déjà vu after finding the scoresheet twice in England’s impressive 3-1 victory over the reigning champions.

In fact, her first goal in the afternoon sunshine at the Stade du Clos Gastel looked as familiar a finish as her dramatic equaliser nearly two years ago in the Middle East. The difference this time around was that her brace underlined a well-deserved opening day win for Mo Marley’s side at France 2018.

“In any game, you want to score as a forward. Every game, I try and attack, and I can’t do that without assists from my team-mates,” Russo told after Sunday’s win. “With the forwards that we’ve got, it’s just about getting the right players on the ball and creating a lot of goalscoring opportunities.

“We’ve set to come out and attack every game, and the tournament as a whole. It just mirrored on the pitch, with the way we started the game and the way that we got our three goals.”

There was a sense of momentum to the way England pushed forward and put Korea DPR under pressure on the opening day of the tournament. The efforts of the England men’s side in Russia this summer and the senior women at the Women’s World Cup in Canada three years ago seemed to have provided plenty of inspiration for this Young Lionesses squad.

“I think we’ve had a very footballing-centred summer,” Russo said. “Everyone has been behind the men and the women. We just seem to be growing and growing, as a nation, and that’s what we’re trying to do with the youth as well.”

The striker also pointed out the camaraderie of this young England side, as they look to make a serious impression at this U-20 Women’s World Cup. “There is a special feel about the team. We are a family, on and off the pitch,” she said. “You can tell that by the way we performed today. What more can you ask for than playing with your best friends?”