After her stunning goal for England in the first half, Toone kept up a promise she made to friends back home

Ella Toone struck a stunning 36th-minute opener in England’s World Cup semi-final win over Australia on Wednesday – and kissed a tattoo to fulfil a promise to her friends.

The England attacking midfielder, who scored twice during the Lionesses’ victorious European Championship campaign last year, put Sarina Wiegman’s side on course for a place in the World Cup final with a stunning effort in the first half.

Manchester United’s Toone then celebrated wildly with her England team-mates and fulfilled that promise to her friends, who all got inked ahead of the tournament Down Under. Toone’s friends asked her to kiss the marking and make a heart sign with her hands and she duly obliged as England went ahead.

“I got a tattoo with my mates back home and they made me kiss it and do the heart celebration,” she said. “That was for them, I thought of it straight away, probably because they have reminded me before every game to do it so I wasn’t going to forget. It’s a very small and delicate tattoo. It’s also going to be my first and last one too.”

Her thunderbolt goal just before half-time in the last-four tie at Sydney’s Stadium Australia was the first time she has scored at the World Cup and second-half goals from Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo sealed England’s place in the final on Sunday.

Earlier in the tournament, she told BBC Radio 5 Live how she would celebrate, saying: “I’m sure if it falls to me in the box then I’d be buzzing if I put it away. Usually (with celebrations) anything happens.

“But, I’m on strict orders from my mates. We all got a matching tattoo before I came out (to Australia). They want me to kiss it and do a little love heart. I promised them I’d do that.”

Toone had been under pressure to perform in this match after some lacklustre performances in Australia but when the ball fell to her in the box she struck it with such power that Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold was not going to be able to stop it.

Ella Toone's England goal celebration explained

Ella Toone put England ahead in the first half Credit: Getty Images/Brendon Thorne

It was United’s Toone, of course, who scored the opening goal of last year’s Euros final at Wembley as the Lionesses won their first major trophy.

Finding the net in this match against the tournament co-hosts means Toone follows Linda Curl and Kelly Smith in becoming only the third player to score in both a major tournament final and semi-final for England.

Former England player Rachel Brown Finnis, speaking on the BBC said: “Sumptuous play, good build up from England. What about that – strike through the ball. Top bins, side netting.

“That is the way to answer any criticism that Ella Toone has had this tournament, I am delighted for her.”