England Exults After Women’s Euros Soccer Win

LONDON — For over 50 years, English soccer followers have hoped, prayed and sung {that a} main trophy would “come home.” Now it lastly has. And they’ll hardly include themselves.

On Monday, footage of the Lionesses, because the workforce is thought, dominated the entrance pages of British newspapers after their 2-1 win over Germany at Wembley Stadium in London, the headlines lauding the brand new European champions as “game changers” or “history makers” and declaring “No more years of hurt.”

Trafalgar Square, the positioning of an enormous viewing celebration a day earlier than, was the scene for extra jubilation, as 1000’s turned out for a trophy-lifting ceremony with the workforce.

Many followers arrived in workforce jerseys, carried England flags and sang “Three Lions” — the tune whose “football’s coming home” refrain had come to precise English followers’ craving for a trophy — by coronary heart because the workforce took to the stage.

“We said we wanted to make our legacy about winning and that’s what we did,” mentioned the workforce’s captain, Leah Williamson, taking within the crowd’s thunderous applause.

“We’ve changed the game in this country and hopefully across Europe across the world,” she mentioned.

The crowd included households and scores of younger women carrying stickers with the hashtag #LetGirlsPlay, trumpeting aspirations for his or her future in a sport that for many years forbade their participation, and nonetheless fails to supply equal alternatives regardless of latest enhancements.

“It is just so exciting for a young woman who grew up playing football seeing them fly so high,” mentioned Savannah Xanthe. 18, who got here to the ceremony wrapped in an English flag together with her two sisters.

“Women don’t get a chance to be taken seriously in soccer,” mentioned Amy Symonds, 33, who performs soccer in Bristol. She mentioned she was shaking with pleasure whereas watching the match yesterday. “This shows what we can do and it must be taken seriously.”

She added that she hoped the victory would carry to the game the eye that it deserved.

“This is a beginning, not an ending,” she mentioned.

Politicians and royals despatched messages and congratulations to the workforce on its victory — a dramatic conclusion that had parallels to England’s final main championship, in 1966, when the nation hosted the lads’s World Cup and its workforce defeated Germany within the remaining.

But the success held the potential to transcend nationwide delight and euphoria, with girls’s soccer occupying the general public consciousness in Britain like by no means earlier than.

More than 600,000 tickets had been offered for the European Championship, greater than double the full for any earlier version of the ladies’s match, and the ultimate was the most-watched tv program in Britain this yr, in accordance with the BBC. The broadcaster mentioned the match was seen by a peak viewers of 17.4 million, near a 3rd of England’s inhabitants, and added that there have been a further 5.9 million streams on-line.

“I think we really made a change,” mentioned the workforce’s Dutch coach, Sarina Wiegman, at a information convention after the match on Sunday. The workforce had performed lots for the game however for the position of girls in society, too, she added, a sentiment that was echoed by others.

“It’s been an amazing month and an amazing day yesterday,” mentioned Mark Bullingham, the chief government of the Football Association, England’s governing physique for soccer.

“I think it will really turbocharge everything we have been doing in the women’s game,” he mentioned in an interview on “BBC Breakfast” on Monday, including that the group had invested closely in girls’s soccer over the previous few years.

“There is no reason we shouldn’t have the same number of girls playing as boys and we think it will create a whole new generation of heroes who girls aspire to be like,” he mentioned.

The latest shift, whereas important, is overdue for a sport that has lengthy custom of discriminating towards girls. Top English golf equipment like Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have poured thousands and thousands of {dollars} into their girls’s applications lately, a part of a broader development of funding throughout Europe that has seen the continent shut the hole with the United States, the longtime international chief in girls’s soccer. That type of broad structural assist is seen as important to giving girls a system through which to thrive.

But as issues have advanced over the previous decade, specialists say there’s nonetheless loads of room for enchancment.

“This is at a time when public attitudes toward sexism and misogyny are changing, and football needs to change too,” mentioned Stacey Pope, who heads “Fair Game,” a collective of 34 English soccer golf equipment that revealed a report in March that discovered proof of a gaping gender divide in soccer golf equipment all through England and Wales was conserving the game “in the Dark Ages.”

Only 11.1 p.c of board members at Premier League golf equipment are girls, and two-thirds of the league’s groups have all-male boards, the report mentioned. Significantly fewer girls had been attending video games in England in contrast with different nations.

But a newfound optimism took maintain this weekend because the Lionesses emerged victorious on Sunday from a match that was attended by a report variety of followers — the group of greater than 87,000 was the largest for any European Championship remaining, males or girls.

Queen Elizabeth despatched a message of congratulations to the workforce, writing that whereas the athletes’ performances deserved reward, “your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so deservedly earned.”

“You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations,” she wrote.

Kevin Windsor, a graphic designer in London, watched the match along with his 3-year-old daughter, who was carrying a princess robe. “My daughter doesn’t have to have an interest in football. She just has to know that it’s an option,” he wrote on Twitter. “That she can become anything she sets her little heart on. From a princess to a lioness. And everything in between.”

Andrew Das contributed reporting.

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