Lionesses ‘have changed how the country sees women’s football’

Up to 7,000 supporters will have the opportunity to join the team at an event in London on Monday.

01 August 2022

England’s historic Euros triumph has changed the way the women’s game is viewed, a former player has said, as thousands of fans gear up to celebrate the Lionesses’ victory in central London.

England beat Germany 2-1 after extra time in front of 87,000 supporters at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, securing the first major tournament title for the country since 1966.

Up to 7,000 supporters will have the opportunity to join the team at an event hosted by ex-player Alex Scott in Trafalgar Square from 11am on Monday.

England v Germany – UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 – Final – Wembley Stadium
Players celebrate at Wembley (Nigel French/PA)

Scott, a former England international, said the Lionesses’ win would be a game changer in terms of raising the profile of women’s football.

She told BBC Breakfast: “These Lionesses have raised the bar.

“They have changed the way women’s football is viewed in this country.

“The train has left the station and it is gathering pace.

“It will be tragic to take any steps back after what we have witnessed yesterday and through the whole tournament.

“There must be an opportunity for every single girl to play football if they want to.”

Meanwhile, Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said England’s success will “turbo charge” the women’s game in this country.

“The last few years have been incredible. We have invested really heavily and the Lionesses have taken their opportunity and they have produced something incredible.

“It’s been an amazing month and an amazing day yesterday,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“I think it will really turbo charge everything we have been doing in the women’s game.

“There is no reason why we shouldn’t have the same number of girls playing as boys and it will inspire a whole new generation of players.”

David Baddiel, who recorded the classic football song Three Lions with Frank Skinner and rock band Lightning Seeds in 1996, said he hoped his daughter and her children would think of football not as “default owned by men” but as “the same game, played by women or played by men”.

England v Germany – UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 – Final – Wembley Stadium
The Duke of Cambridge joins in the celebrations (Danny Lawson/PA)

The comedian told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We talk about football and we just assume you mean men’s football, but we should say ‘men’s football’ or ‘women’s football’ because football is not by default owned by men.

“But that is something that I think has only been made clear very, very recently.”

Mr Baddiel added: “It’s the same game, played by women or played by men. And what’s totally brilliant in the last sort of few weeks is the sense that the country can get behind it in entirely the same way.”

The free entry event in Trafalgar Square is on a first-come first-served basis, with live music from DJ Monki, a showing of tournament highlights and a Q&A involving the players and manager, Sarina Wiegman, before the trophy is lifted.

It comes after the Queen praised the team, saying their “success goes far beyond the trophy”.

Fans watch England v Germany – UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 – Final
Supporters revel in England’s win (Aaron Chown/PA)

She said in a statement: “You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.”

The Duke of Cambridge was among those supporting from the sidelines, and after the match he said it had been “wonderful to see history in the making”, while captain Leah Williamson dubbed it “the proudest moment of my life”.

Supporters who attended the match described the team’s win as a “victory for girls across the country”.

There was a carnival-like atmosphere as a huge sea of England flags were carried out of the stadium after the match, with supporters cheering, blowing horns and singing Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and Queen’s We Are The Champions.

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