Alice one step from European final with England

Alice Hassall in action for England Women's Under 17s    PHOTO:
Alice Hassall in action for England Women's Under 17s PHOTO:
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Aylesbury’s bright young England talent will continue her quest for European glory tonight (Thursday) when she takes on Spain in the European Women’s Championship semi-final.

Alice Hassall, 16, from Dinton, has played in all three games of her country’s campaign to reach the knockout stages of the tournament, which is being played on home soil.

And the highlight so far came during the 6-1 win over Portugal at the Pirelli Stadium, home of Burton Albion, on Monday, as she scored one and set up another during the victory which confirmed England’s place in the last four.

The Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School pupil scored from the penalty spot in the 57th minute after the Portugal goalkeeper was sent off for a foul on England’s Chloe Kelly, who was also amongst the goalscorers.

The MK Dons defender said she was never in any doubt as to where to put the penalty.

She said: “We don’t have a set penalty-taker within our squad and so I volunteered to take it.

“The other girls were happy for me to take it and I knew I wanted to put it to the keeper’s right.

“I was happy with the penalty as I put it into the right corner of the net.”

Alice also provided an assist for England’s second goal during the Portugal game as her cut-back allowed Evie Clarke to score on 33 minutes.

England now face Spain in the semi-finals this evening, with their match taking place at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton (kick-off 7pm).

Victory will take England into the final, which is being held at the home of Chesterfield FC on Sunday (kick off 4pm), and is being televised on British Eurosport. Should they advance England will face either Germany or Italy, who beat Hassall’s side in the group stages.

Alice said the squad were not allowing themselves to think about Sunday’s showpiece match.

She said: “We are excited to be in the semi-finals but we are not thinking beyond that game at the moment.”

Off the pitch, Alice is still working hard on her schoolwork, and she said all the other girls were in the same boat.

She said: “We all help each other with our homework, so if I get stuck on my maths I know I have people I can ask for help!”

Fellow England defender Phillippa Cowley, 16, from Cheddington, is also in the squad but has been on the bench for all three matches so far.