Ella Toone played a central role as England triumphed over Australia to secure a spot in the Women’s World Cup final – and her celebration after scoring the initial goal carries a poignant significance.
The attacking midfielder from Manchester United delivered one of the standout goals of the tournament during the first half, unleashing a powerful right-footed strike from 18 yards away that found the top right corner of the net.
The ball raced into the back of the net, leaving Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold with no opportunity to thwart it.
This goal marked Toone’s first in a World Cup, contributing to her total of 17 goals in a mere 37 senior England matches.
After scoring, the 23-year-old wheeled away in celebration – and her subsequent gesture has a special meaning.
What does Ella Toone’s celebration mean?
As part of her celebration, Toone kissed a tattoo on her left wrist and made a love heart gesture with both hands.
The attacking midfielder had the tattoo, which is shaped as a loveheart, alongside five of her friends last year.
And speaking toBBC Sportahead of the crunch semi-final fixture in Sydney, Toone revealed the meaning behind her celebration if she were to score.
Wondered what @EllaToone99‘s celebration was about?
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) August 16, 2023
She explained: “I’m under strict orders that, my mates, we all got a matching tattoo before I came out. They want me to kiss it and do a little love heart.
“So I promised them that I’d do that.”
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 16, 2023
Following Toone’s goal, Sam Kerr equalised for Australia with a 25-yard deflected effort beyond Mary Earps.
But Lauren Hemp restored the Lionesses’ advantage following a defensive error, before the Manchester City star ran through midfield and played in Alessia Russo for the third and final goal.
Sarina Wiegman’s side take on Spain – who possess the reigning Ballon d’Or Feminin winner Alexia Putellas among their ranks – in the Women’s World Cup final. The game takes place at Stadium Australia on Sunday at 11am UK time (8pm local).