England beat Luxembourg 10-0 in their latest World Cup qualifier, but it was Rachel Daly’s stoppage-time goal that proved to be the most special of the lot.
As her teammates swarmed to celebrate alongside her, Daly looked up and blew a kiss to the heavens in memory of her father who passed away just days before the international break.
It’s been a tough time for the Houston Dash forward, whose dad Martyn was an avid supporter of the England Women’s team.
The 29-year-old wore a strap on her wrist against Luxembourg with the word “dad” written on it and delivered a clinical performance as England signed off this set of international fixtures with another resounding win.
Lionesses head coach Sarina Wiegman spoke of how impressed she was with Daly’s attitude and stressed how her performances in the last week have been “really incredible.”
The Dutch manager also called Daly’s goal last night “special” at what was an “emotional and sad time.”
Stand-in England captain Leah Williamson paid tribute to Daly after the Lionesses 8-0 victory against North Macedonia last Friday. The Arsenal defender said: “For Rachel to be able to come into this environment at such a tough time in her life shows we have a good group here. The win on Friday was dedicated to Rachel and Rachel’s Dad.”
Similarly, Chelsea centre-back Millie Bright dedicated her two goals yesterday to Daly, emphasising how proud she was of her best friend.
“There’s not enough words for Rach as a human being… with or without the goal I’m unbelievably proud of her as always. I said to her straight away, I dedicate both my goals to you and one for your dad,” she said.
“It’s the people around her that have to stand tall and be strong for her to let her have those moments if she needs to have them. I don’t think anyone can be prepared for losing someone, let alone your parent.
“Rach wanted to make her dad proud and my god she has done that just by walking through the doors on that first day of camp, let alone playing two amazing games and scoring for him.”