Arsenal and England forward Beth Mead said the feeling was ‘beyond words’ after she scored a hat-trick in the Lionesses' 4-0 Women’s World Cup qualifying win over Northern Ireland at Wembley.
Following high profile friendlies at Wembley against Germany in 2014 and 2019, this was England Women’s first ever competitive game at the iconic stadium, but it needed second half intervention from Mead off the bench to get the job done.
Mead, who lost her place in the Lionesses setup last season but has started 2021/22 in blistering form for Arsenal, appeared just after the hour mark. She replaced Rachel Daly and got the crucial breakthrough goal within literal seconds, turning and hooking a loose ball into the net.
The 26-year-old scored twice more in the 14 minutes that followed, during which time fellow substitute and namesake Beth England also found the net.
Taking it in back out on the pitch in an empty stadium afterwards, Mead referred to the match ball, which she had already had signed by her teammates, “My baby.”
She went on to say, “What a night at Wembley. Great to get three points and come away with this baby. To score at Wembley is a dream, but to come away with three is indescribable.”
Mead joked that scoring immediately after coming off the bench wasn’t exactly what manager Sarina Wiegman had told her to do.
“I don’t think she told me to do that, but she told us to come on and make a difference and I think that is exactly what the subs did. I think the girls played amazing and we got the rewards at the end for it,” the Gunners forward explained.
“I’ve just been told it could be [one of the fastest hat-tricks at Wembley]. I can’t describe how I feel. It’s beyond words for me. To score at Wembley…I’d never scored here before – had a chance to play but not score – and to come away with three goals, I’m super proud and I’m sure my family are too.
“I’ll take any [goal]. Do you know what, I’ll take them coming from anywhere, but the last one [when] everyone expects you to score, they are the hardest ones. What a game, what a night.”