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With six goals on the clock, the English striker Beth Mead is currently the top scorer of the Euro. A real scoring machine, the Arsenal player had nevertheless been excluded from the selection for the Olympic Games last year. A year later, she took her revenge and largely won the qualification of the “Lionesses” for the final.
“What a night and what an incredible atmosphere coming from the fans. I’m very proud to be English and to be part of this team.” After the overwhelming victory of the “Lionesses” in the semi-finals of the Euro against Sweden (4-0), striker Beth Mead had no words strong enough to express her joy.
It was she who launched her team by opening the score at the 34e minute. On a magnificent cross from Lucy Bronze, she found the way to the Scandinavian nets thanks to a pivoting half-volley. With this sixth goal in the competition, to which we can add three assists, Mead has already equaled the record for goals scored for a player during a Euro, established by the German Inka Grings in 2009.
Despite this remarkable individual performance, the 27-year-old Arsenal player prefers to praise the collective: “We always knew we had the abilities, but the faith we have in ourselves, individually and collectively, is at maximum. It shows on and off the pitch, I think.”
“I was not well last summer”
But if the Covid-19 had not postponed the women’s competition for a year, she certainly would not have been part of the selection. Twelve months earlier, Beth Mead had been excluded from the Tokyo Olympics by coach Hege Riise. A decision that she had very badly experienced. “I wasn’t well last summer,” she recently told the Telegraph.
“I hate myself for feeling this, but I found myself sitting at home having negative thoughts about certain players, wanting them to play badly so people would realize it was a mistake not to play me. ‘to have taken’, she had detailed.
“No one told me what I needed to improve or why others were chosen for the Olympics and not me,” she pleaded. “The only feedback I got was that I was ‘too aggressive in the way I played’, and I can’t understand it. I’ve always played like that.”
“Tougher Than Most Boys”
The one we nicknamed “Meado the Enraged” is indeed known for her rude game. Born in rural Yorkshire, in the north of England, she was pushed into football by her mother who was looking for an outlet for this bundle of nerves.
“She will be the only girl here. And (the boys) are tough enough, will that be okay?” the coach had warned on the first day. “When (my mother) came back an hour later, he basically told her that I was even tougher than most boys,” she told the FA website.
After a spell in the local teams, she was finally identified at the age of 16 by the Sunderland club. For her first high-level match, she scored a goal against defending champions Liverpool. In a few seasons, she established herself as one of the most prominent players in England and caught the eye of Arsenal, who signed her to a professional contract in 2017.
She made her first-team debut in 2018 in the national squad, but things are not looking good with manager Philip Neville, the former Manchester United star who, according to the Guardian, accuses her of being too laid back and only happy when she goes to Whitley Bay, a seaside resort in the northeast of England, “to eat fish and chips”.
The arrival of coach Sarina Wiegman changed the game. After an exceptional season under the colors of Arsenal with 26 assists and 12 goals in total, the Dutch technician trusted him. The chemistry between the two women works. “She’s very direct. You could say abrupt for England, but it’s very Dutch. She always goes straight to the point. We needed this franchise (…). I love playing for her,” said pointed out Beth Mead, who has scored 20 times in 19 games since Sarina Wiegman has been on the bench.
The serial scorer also admits that her non-selection for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 was a click. “It lit a fire in me. I didn’t want to feel it again. On the contrary, it gave me even more determination and focus. I play my best football when I’m angry.” If this rage has become positive is still present, the striker could once again prove to be very effective and ruthless with his opponents on Sunday in the final at Wembley. England fans have already dubbed the Euro the “Beth Mead Revenge Tour” – Beth Mead’s revenge tour.