There are big-time penalty kicks in big-time moments. And then there’s Chloe Kelly’s big-time penalty kick in a big-time moment.

Kelly nailed the game-winning kick, pushing England past Nigeria and into the World Cup quarterfinals with a 4-2 penalty shootout win. That Kelly performed under pressure was not surprising, given that she scored the game-winning goal at the 2022 European Championships.

“Fire and ice,” her former Everton manager Willie Kirk said of Kelly last year. “She takes penalties under pressure, definitely has ice in her veins and plays with a lot of fire.”

But the speed of her shot did raise some eyebrows.

Kelly, who has said she looks at penalties as a guaranteed goal, recorded the fastest shot of the tournament at 110.79 kilometers per hour. For American fans of the game, that’s 68.84 miles per hour – faster than the legal driving limit in some areas.

“Stepping up, I just thought, ‘I’m gonna score,’” she told reporters afterwards. “That’s the way I look at penalties, it’s confident I know but I think when you win that mental battle, it’s always important.”

The goal won’t go onto the overall leaderboard for shot speed given it wasn’t scored in regulation or extra time, but it still counts in the hearts of fans. And it’s still a faster shot than any goal recorded last season in the men’s English Premier League. The top shot was a 107.2 km/h rocket from Said Benrahma of West Ham in November.

Just Women’s Sports is here with your daily World Cup Digest, breaking down all of the biggest storylines from each day of action in Australia and New Zealand.

Today’s top World Cup news: England rounds into form as USWNT sputters

Both England and the Netherlands showcased why they are World Cup favorites with their wins Tuesday, while the USWNT decidedly did not.

When USWNT kicked off its match against Portugal, it did so at the same time that the Netherlands’ own match against Vietnam got underway, with the fate of both teams hanging in the balance. The Dutch side responded to that pressure, putting up an astounding seven goals to Vietnam’s zero for the tournament’s biggest margin of victory so far.

The Netherlands put up five goals before the half, and Esmee Brugts and Jill Roord each added goals in the second half to finish with matching braces. Their team finished with 42 shots in a dominant display.

England, meanwhile, looked to be in cruise control against China in a 6-1 win. Alessia Russo got the scoring started in the fourth minute to start the deluge, with Lauren Hemp, Lauren James, Chloe Kelly and Rachel Daly all getting on the scoresheet.

James finished with a brace, though she was denied a hat trick by VAR. But it was a resounding performance for a team that was left shaken by the injury to Keira Walsh.

“Again, another day of what dreams are made of,” James said. “I’m happy for the team and everyone’s buzzing. And yeah, we’re looking forward to going into next round.”

In contrast, the USWNT survived by the grace of the goalpost. A late Portugal shot ricocheted off the post rather than into the net, which prevented the two-time defending World Cup champions from being sent home in the group stage for the first time ever.

“It was a beautiful sound to hear it hit the post, that’s for sure,” USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher said afterward. “But that’s something we talked about — we knew they were good on the counterattack and they like to get in behind.”

And even after one of the worst performances in USWNT history, Alex Morgan remained confident about her team heading into the Round of 16. When asked if Sweden will be favorites in their game, she provided a definitive response: “No.”

“I know this team and I know what we’re capable of, and just because it hasn’t clicked every moment on the field and we’re not putting the goals in the back of the net doesn’t mean these aren’t the right players for the job,” Morgan said. “The confidence is there and now we just have to prove it out on the field.”

Today’s top highlight: Marta talks about becoming a football icon

Ahead of Brazil’s final group stage match, Marta spoke about her career and the legacy she will leaving behind. The 37-year-old forward is playing in her sixth World Cup.

“I don’t normally focus on myself, on Marta. I try to focus in the whole picture, in everyone in the collective, in what we’ve been doing together,” she said through a translator. “You know what’s good? When I started playing I didn’t have an idol, a female idol. You guys didn’t show any female games. How was I supposed to see other players? How was I supposed to understand that I could arrive at a national team and become a reference.

“Today, when we come out on the street, people stop, parents stop and say, ‘My daughter loves you, she wants to be just like you.’ It’s not just Marta, it’s other athletes as well. This wouldn’t have happened if we had stopped in the first obstacles that we faced. It’s a continuous persistency. It didn’t start with just me, but with a lot of other women back then, but we are all very proud. We ask a lot for our generation to continue to do that, to inspire more girls, more boys. It doesn’t matter their age.

“I am very happy to see all of this now because 20 years ago, in 2003, nobody knew who Marta was at my first World Cup. Twenty years later, we have become a reference for many women all over the world, not only in football, [but] in journalism as well. We see many women journalists here today and we didn’t see that before so we have opened doors for equality. I hope I answered your question after you made me cry.”

Today’s results:

  • Netherlands 7, Vietnam 0
  • USWNT 0, Portugal 0
  • England 6, China 1
  • Denmark 2, Haiti 0

More World Cup news to know:

  • A total of 1 million fans have turned out for the World Cup so far. Rebecca Sheely from Colorado became the millionth fan to go through the gates of the 10 World Cup venues at the match between Portugal and the USWNT. With 22 matches left to play, this World Cup remains on track to become the biggest standalone women’s sporting event ever.
  • USWNT co-captains Alex Morgan and Lindsey Horan lamented the team’s missed chances against Portugal and throughout the group stage. The team finished the group stage with 63 total shots (17 on goal) but just four goals.
  • Carli Lloyd, a two-time World Cup champion with the USWNT turned Fox Sports analyst, had harsh words for the 2023 squad. In particular, she took issue with the players’ seemingly relaxed conduct both before and after the scoreless draw. “Players are smiling. They’re laughing. It’s not good enough,” she said.

Following their historic 2022 Euros win, the England Lionesses have reaped the benefits.

The stars of that squad — most notably, Leah Williamson, Chloe Kelly and Beth Mead — have graced the covers of magazines like Grazia and Hello!, done advertisements for brands like McDonald’s and presented awards.

“It feels like I’m managing a celebrity more than a footballer at the minute,” one player agent told The Athletic. “They’re demanding just as much — possibly even more — money than the male players. Brands and celebrities are passing on their numbers.”

According to The Athletic, one of the players is so popular that she needs three full-time staff members managing her commitments.

The players’ earnings have also grown as a result. Some agents described offers in the six figures, whereas before the tournament, “it wouldn’t have been anywhere near that.” Another player reportedly had to turn down a brand offering 5,000 pounds.

“After the Euros, our feet didn’t touch the ground for months,” the agent continued. “We had so many requests from so many different areas — areas that previously we’d been trying to push doors down in.

“Two days after the final, we booked in a day with our players where we had to sit down with pages and pages of requests. We had loads of big brands, including some that hadn’t done much work in women’s football, wanting to work with them.”

The increased popularity of the players is evidenced by their social media followings. Ella Toone gained 158,000 followers in the seven days after the final, while Leah Williamson’s account grew by 88,000 and Chloe Kelly’s by 68,000.

Nearly every player reported double-digit increases in their follower counts throughout the tournament.

Doors continue to open for players, including for those who didn’t play as many minutes.

“The players that scored the most goals and got the most assists are always going to get more attention,” an agent told The Athletic. “But it’s helped elevate players who haven’t got as many minutes to a point where they’re able to stand on their own two feet as Lionesses and get commercial partnerships. It helps them to get in the room. More brands are open to working in women’s football.”

It’s been two and a half months since Chloe Kelly’s sports bra goal celebration caught the attention of Brandi Chastain, who became an icon after scoring the game-winning penalty kick for the U.S. women’s national team in the 1999 World Cup title and taking off her sports bra in celebration. Kelly scored the game-winner in the 2022 Euro final this summer at Wembley Stadium in London to help the Lionesses claim their first major tournament trophy.

After England’ 2-1 win over the USWNT at Wembley on Friday, Chastain met the English forward to reflect on Kelly’s big moment and what it meant for the next generation of women’s soccer players.

“I think that’s what every young girl wanted to be, is seen on the football pitch and to have a space out there that they belong,” Chastain told her. “The fact that it was on such a big stage and the significance of that victory obviously has changed the world of football here in England just like in the U.S. 20 something years ago.”

Chastain said there were a lot of young girls in the stands for Friday’s game, which had a crowd of 76,893 fans, and that Kelly’s goal in the Euro final in July helped propel the game forward. Kelly had scored 20 minutes into stoppage time to secure the 2-1 win over Germany.

“They will forever remember the moment,” Chastain said. “And they will want to have an opportunity to replicate it in 20 years. That’s fantastic to me.”

The image of Chloe Kelly tearing off her jersey in a state of rapture has become instantly iconic.

After poking in England’s game-winner over Germany in the waning minutes of Sunday’s UEFA Women’s Euro final, Kelly whirled her kit over her head to the cheers of a sold-out Wembley Stadium crowd.

To many, Kelly’s celebration resembled U.S. women’s national team legend Brandi Chastain’s famous sports bra celebration from the 1999 World Cup.

Chastain took to Twitter on Sunday to congratulate Kelly, writing, “I see you Chloe Kelly well done. Enjoy the free rounds of pints and dinners for the rest of your life from all of England. Cheers!”

Kelly’s dramatic late-game finish lifted the Lionesses to a 2-1 victory, clinching England’s first major tournament championship since 1966.

The 24-year-old’s triumph also caught the attention of Australian soccer star Sam Kerr of Chelsea, who tweeted her praise of the celebration.

“I just went mental,” Kelly said after the match. “Honestly, I didn’t know what to do! But I think it was an amazing celebration because…what a tournament! I didn’t think about it. I didn’t plan it. It was alright, wasn’t it?”

The moment is already being heralded as a dramatic sea change in English football, with the women’s game finally front and center in a nation that only lifted its ban on women’s football in 1971.

Chloe Kelly ripped her jersey off in a state of euphoria after notching the game-winning goal in the 111th minute to secure England the team’s first UEFA Women’s Euro title.

After a second-half goal by Ella Toone was met with a German equalizer, England was battling tired legs in extra time. Kelly, however, played hero for the Lionesses, with the 24-year-old poking in an England corner to put her side up 2-1 with minutes left to play.

A record 87,921 crowd at Wembley Stadium erupted after Kelly’s late finish, cheering on the Lionesses for the remainder of the title matchup.

Kelly’s empathic goal celebration caught the eye of U.S. Women’s National Team legend Brandi Chastain, whose jersey tear became an instantly iconic image, representing a sea change in American soccer.

England’s victory marks the country’s first major tournament win since 1966, ending an enduring heartbreak for the nation’s soccer culture.

Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman made history herself, winning back-to-back Euro titles with two different countries, following up her 2017 championship with the Netherlands. Wiegman is set to earn a reported £200,000 bonus for lifting the Euros trophy, according to The Telegraph.

Prince William presented the English players with the tournament trophy in a moment likely to dramatically shift the country’s football landscape.