Sunday 31st July 2022, will go down as the day when England’s Lionesses ended 56 years of hurt when captain Leah Williamson became the first England captain to lift the European Championships trophy at Wembley Stadium. While Sarina Wiegman’s side has dominated during the tournament with highlights such as Georgia Stanway’s 96th-minute winner against Spain and Alessia Russo’s backheel goal that will go down into football folklore, no wonder that Germany was looking to give England a run for their money.
After Chloe Kelly’s winning goal, it gave a sense that women’s football is here to stay and England will only get better under Sarina Wiegman. Most notably, Kelly’s celebration empowered women when she took her shirt off in celebration, similar to when retired USA footballer Brandi Chastain did the same after scoring a decisive penalty in the 1999 World Cup Final.
Someone who will be very proud of herself is England captain Leah Williamson who said that the Lionesses have “changed the game in this country”, as she lifted the famous trophy. In her post-match interview, Williamson said that more people should be attending WSL (Women’s Super League) matches as women’s football has become increasingly popular during Euro 2022. It was announced earlier today, that Williamson will be the first recipient of the Freedom of the New City of Milton Keynes.
The BBC then revealed that the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 final win over Germany was watched by a record television audience of 17.4 million, meaning Sunday’s final most-watched women’s football game on UK television, with a further 5.9 million streams on the BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app. The attendance at Wembley Stadium was a record crowd of 87,192 spectators.
Back in July, I wrote an article about what the women’s game will look like in years to come, based on Alex Scott’s BBC documentary. With calls for more funding for grassroots and greater access to football in schools. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced that grassroots facilities will be named after the 23 Lionesses around their respective hometowns or places which formed their footballing career in honour of their achievements this Euro 2022.
The roaring success of the Lionesses will give young girls role models to look up to and hopefully, England will find the next generation of Lionesses that will continue the success of Sarina Wiegman and captain Leah Williamson and co.