Euro 2022 match-winner Chloe Kelly says she was always going to take off her shirt to celebrate Sunday’s decisive goal but was briefly worried VAR may ruin the moment.
The Manchester City attacker scored in the 110th minute at Wembley to earn England a 2-1 victory over Germany.
It gave the Lionesses a first European Championship trophy and ended the country’s 56-year wait for one of its national teams to triumph in a major competition.
After Kelly fired home from close range, she went to take her shirt off before hesitating as referee Kateryna Monzul communicated with her other officials but, once the goal was awarded, the 24-year-old whipped off her jersey in scenes reminiscent of Sergio Aguero’s celebrations in 2012 to create a lasting image.
“It’s the best yellow card I have ever received,” Kelly told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
“I was looking at the ref and thinking, ‘What is she calling here, is it a free-kick or a goal?’ And everything to do with VAR and things like that, you are thinking I don’t want to celebrate too much, I want to make sure.
“I was still holding my shirt then thinking. ‘Is this coming off or what?’ I didn’t want to take it off and they cancel the goal, so I was ready to take it off and go crazy.
“I think that moment, everything is a blur and you celebrate for what the moment is and not ‘Am I allowed to take my shirt off?’ Because as you know I am always taking my shirt off and going crazy!
“In men’s football they would be doing exactly the same so, as a woman, why can’t we? I think in that moment every England player and every England fan was in it.”
While QPR fan Kelly got her Bobby Zamora moment on Sunday, in reference to the forward’s dramatic winner in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final against Derby in 2014, it was Beth Mead who was the player of Euro 2022.
The Arsenal forward found the net six times but reflected on ITV about the need for her and mum June to both work in a pub at different points in their lives to pay for football boots and petrol to get to training, which was almost an hour away from their Yorkshire home.
Mead added: “I worked a job to pay for them. It was in a local pub near to where I lived. I waitressed and worked behind the bar just to get my first boots so I could train at the weekend.
“That is what makes you appreciate them moments more and the things we are getting now. Yes, it is becoming the norm but when I was younger I had to work hard to get a pair of boots.
“My mum worked in a pub as well. She did that so we could pay the petrol to get me to training because obviously it wasn’t close, so I appreciate that a lot.
“It has been a long time coming but now I am so proud of the game and how far it has come. Now it is getting the recognition it deserves.
“It is a lasting legacy and hopefully it is the start of something special for the women’s game.”
Former England international John Barnes hailed the “passion and determination” of the Lionesses’ victory over Germany but called on people who have been engrossed by Euro 2022 to continue supporting women’s football in the months ahead by attending Women’s Super League matches.
He told Sky News: “Unfortunately when they play for their clubs, you have one or two thousand people turning up.
“What has to happen is, when they play for their clubs, that is when they need the support and not just when they play for England.
“It is easy to be a fan when we’re at the (2023) World Cup but what about their bread and butter, the day to day with their clubs? That is when they really need the support for women’s football to really go to the next level.
“Now is when you have to put your money where your mouth is if you are real football fan.”
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