Beth Mead is enjoying an unforgettable UEFA Women’s EURO 2022. As she and her England team-mates prepare to face Sweden in the semi-finals on Tuesday, the Arsenal forward can take confidence from her five goals from four games so far – making her the frontrunner in the race to be crowned top scorer.
All five of those goals came during the Lionesses’ Group A campaign, including a memorable hat-trick against Norway – and setting a record for group stage marksmanship at the Women’s EURO. Indeed, the 27-year-old is now just one goal shy of the benchmark for a single edition of the tournament set by Germany’s Inka Grings in 2009.
UEFA.com’s England reporter Lynsey Hooper caught up with the Lionesses ace to talk through all her strikes this summer.
Let’s start with your first goal against Austria. It was Fran Kirby’s ball in and you said that because you know Arsenal club-mate Manuela Zinsberger so well, that’s why you opted to shoot the way you did. Can you talk us through that goal?
Playing with Manu at the club, I know she is very good in and around the [box], saving shots, [reacting] quite quickly around her – her reflexes are pretty quick. So, I knew she was coming out quite quickly at me, and obviously I knew she was off her line a bit. It was probably the only place she couldn’t save it. I’m just glad it went just over the line because it was pretty close.
How about your header against Norway?
I was laughing, actually. I don’t score that many goals with my head. But, yes, I saw Lauren [Hemp] coming from the side on her left foot and I just thought that I’ll get myself in the box. Luckily, it hit the right part of the head and it went in.
This one, where you cut inside, is probably the goal of the tournament for you so far. It’s all about your close control, your dribbling – talk us through what was going through your head at that point.
Yes, I think it was my favourite one too. A lot of my coaches have always told me that when I get up to speed and run at defenders quickly, it’s hard to defend. I knew that we were inside the box and I knew it would be pretty hard for them to kind of lunge at me. I mean, it happens so quickly, but yes… My feet worked really well when I got towards them and I happened to put it in the back of the net at the end of it.
And everyone needs a tap-in, don’t they? This was the one that completed your hat-trick against Norway.
It was. Keira [Walsh] was like, “Do I get an assist for that?” I’m just happy I actually stayed onside at the time. Obviously, you’ve seen my celebrations: I looked back to see if I was offside but, luckily, I timed this one pretty well.
And, finally, your goal against Northern Ireland. This one had the control and quick feet again, but it’s also about the precision in the low shot.
I’ve got a little bit of fortune with the deflection to take it away from the keeper, but I’m just happy I got my touch. And the strike had enough to take it away [from the keeper and end up] in the back of the net.