Pompey's Gemma Hillier star of England women's beach soccer Euro triumph

Pompey Ladies striker Gemma Hillier is celebrating European glory.

Tuesday, 11th July 2017, 12:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:09 pm
Gemma Hiller

She and her England colleagues have just returned home after triumphing in the Euro Beach Soccer League.

The England Lionesses - with a strong contingent of Pompey Ladies players - sealed their first major tournament win thanks to a pulsating 4-3 win over Switzerland on the sand of Nazare in Portugal.

That followed a 6-1 semi-final thumping of Spain, the world’s number one ranked side in the group stages.

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And not only did Gemma pick up a winner's medal, she took the Golden Boot trophy as the competition's top scorer.

The star striker is now back at work at Fareham Academy, where she is a PE teacher, with the Academy congratulating her on Facebook saying: 'Over the past week, Miss Hillier and the England Beach Soccer team have been competing at the Beach Soccer European Championships in Portugal.

'Last year team England came 4th, but this year England triumphed in first place!

'Not only did England win, Miss Hillier also won the top goal scorer award for the entire tournament. A huge congratulations to Miss Hillier and team England for their win!'

England celebrate

England coach Perry Northeast, a former manager of Pompey Ladies, said: 'Spain won the trophy last year, they’re heavily supported and heavily backed by the Football Association, their game against us was even broadcast live on Spanish TV. We’re run on a shoestring in comparison.

'The fact we managed to beat them 6-1 is remarkable.

''We are recognised by the Football Association, we wear the Three Lions but we’re not heavily supported financially by any stretch. Hopefully this will lead to the tide turning.'

Northeast himself combines his unpaid role with the national team alongside his full-time job as a coach educator at the University of Chichester.

England celebrate

He said: 'We have a crop of players who play for Portsmouth ladies, a couple who feature for Yeovil Town in the WSL 1, as well as others from Millwall and Chichester.

'We’re a tight-knit group and you need to be to play this game. It’s more than just a game of football played on sand. You have to be strong mentally but also physically because it’s a gruelling sport.'