In her first start in a major tournament England’s Fran Kirby scored a magnificent goal, deftly side-stepping defenders and powering the ball into the far corner, beyond the reach of the Mexican goalkeeper. The goal in the 70th minute gave England the lead, easing the pressure on team after their defeat to France in the first game of the tournament. Karen Carney doubled England’s lead just over ten minutes later. Mexico’s Fabiola Ibarra managed to claw one back in injury time and the match finished 2-1.
Kirby is the only player in the England squad currently playing in the second tier of the Women’s Super League. She has not long returned to football after having a hiatus brought on by a long battle with depression in the wake of her mother’s death. However, her footballing comeback has been marked by a return to strong domestic form and Head Coach, Mark Sampson believes she can replicate that on the International stage. Calling her the team’s ‘mini Messi’, he said
Special players step up in special moments, there’s more to come for her.
In response to such high praise, Kirby said
‘I’m really grateful to hear Mark has that much faith in me as a player and trusted me to give me my first World Cup start…It has been a difficult time for me and my family but now it just motivates me. One of the reasons why I was so happy to score today was knowing the journey I have been on and it shows that coming back into football was the right decision… Everything I do is to make mum proud. I’m sure I’ve done that.’
And the nation Fran, and the nation.