Better late than never

Leah williamson penalty, the knitted footballer

After an intervention from UEFA, England’s Under 19s player Leah Williamson got to retake her disallowed penalty against Norway five days after the original match. During the match on Saturday, German referee, Marija Kurtes ruled it out after some England players stepped into the 18 yard box. The penalty should have been immediately retaken, but Kurtes awarded Norway a free-kick. This is the first time UEFA have intervened without the decision first being appealed.

Before the penalty could be retaken, England needed to beat Switzerland to still be able to qualify – which they did 3-1 – leaving only Williamson’s penalty between England and qualification for the finals in Israel.

Despite five days of nerves, Williamson confidently placed her spot-kick into the bottom left-hand corner before the final whistle was blown and England celebrations could begin. When asked about how she managed to keep her nerve, she said: ‘I went for a sleep…There was nothing else to do. I was pacing around last night, so I didn’t want to do that again.’

England women’s head coach Mark Sampson, was full of praise: ‘To take that penalty and the fact she has scored it speaks volumes for the character in the team and the personality she has,’.

The result means that England finish as group winners, but Norway qualified as the leading runner-up. Both teams join Sweden, France, Germany, Denmark, Spain and hosts Israel in the finals, which begin on 15 July.

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