England national team star Rachel Daly scored a late-game goal for the Lionesses Tuesday night.
The defender celebrated by kissing her wrist and pointing to the sky in tribute to her late father.
Daly's dad died days earlier, and England's coach described her resilience as "really incredible."
England soccer star Rachel Daly played one of the toughest matches of her career Tuesday, but she met the moment by scoring a late-game goal filled with meaning.
The 29-year-old defender lost her father on September 12, just days before the Lionesses began their journey to the 2023 World Cup with UEFA qualifiers. And in Tuesday night's rout of Luxembourg, Daly scored her fifth-ever international goal in the final minutes of the lopsided match.
Of course, she dedicated the strike to her late father.
"I dedicate it all to me dad," Daly said after the game while surrounded by teammates. "... It felt great. It felt great."
In the 94th minute of the match, Daly found a loose ball just in front of the six-yard box and punched it into the lower-left corner of the goal. She ran towards her teammates to celebrate, then kissed her wrist - where she had "DAD" written on a piece of white tape - and pointed up to the sky in an apparent tribute to her father.
Here's a look at the goal:
England head coach Sarina Wiegman applauded Daly for her strength and resilience during a "very emotional time in her life," according to soccer outlet FourFourTwo. She also described the outside back's stoppage-time goal as "really special" for the whole team.
"It's very sad what happened," Wiegman said. "But how she has performed this week, how she has been focused on football, that's really incredible."
Daly's teammates were also incredibly complimentary of her efforts despite her grieving. The entire squad wore black armbands in honor of her father, but they've done plenty more to support the star throughout her time at camp.
Center-back Millie Bright, who is close friends with Daly, said she's been "making sure I've been there for her every step of the way and giving her all the strength I've got" throughout what she described as "a very, very tough week."
-Lionesses (@Lionesses) September 21, 2021
"I think the people around her, we have to stand tall and be strong for her and let her have those moments if she needs to have them," Bright said, per FourFourTwo. "I don't think anyone can be prepared for losing someone, let alone your parent."
"One thing Rach wanted was to make her dad proud and my God, she's done that just by walking through those doors on the first day of camp, let alone playing two amazing games and then scoring for him," she said. "I said straight away, I dedicated both my goals - one for Rach and one for her pops, who had the best seat in the stadium. I know for a fact she's done him proud."
Daly made sure to thank her friends, family, teammates, and Lionesses staff for their support during the difficult time. In an Instagram posted after England's match against North Macedonia on September 17, Daly wrote that eveyone has been "absolutely incredible" and that their "love and support does not go unnoticed."
She posted another photo to Instagram Wednesday and called the Lionesses "true family" in the caption:
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