England will play either France or Germany, with the match taking place at Wembley Stadium on Sunday
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE VIA @LIONESSES ON INSTAGRAM
A thrilling result for football fans across the country, The Lionesses have secured a place at the Euro 2022 final with a remarkable 4-0 victory against Sweden. Goals were scored by Alessia Russo, Beth Mead, Fran Kirby and Lucy Bronze, with Alessia scoring a mere 11 minutes after her introduction to the game as a substitute.
The Lionesses are now the favourite to take home the crown on Sunday, with chants of “footballs coming home” reverberating across the country during post-match celebrations.
“Again, the team found a way”, England manager Sarina Wiegman remarked. “We were struggling a little by the way they played defensively but we did better and better. The players on the pitch found solutions. And when we scored it obviously helped a lot.”
“It’s nice to be up there, but sometimes being chased isn’t always the nicest”, Beth Mead laughed. Scoring her sixth goal of the tournament, she has overtaken Jodie Taylor’s five at Euro 2017 in earning the Golden Boot. “It’s nothing I ever thought about being close to. I’m really happy to be where I am but it’s not something I’m thinking about – I just want to win with the team.”
Importantly, the Lionesses are formed of several LGBTQI players, raising awareness of Diversity and Inclusion in sport. Beth Mead is a lesbian and has been representing England since the age of 15. At 27, she is a forward for Arsenal. Similarly, Rachel Daly, Jess Carter, Demi Stokes, Fran Kirby, Bethany England and Jill Scott are LGBTQI, and LGBTQI women and non-binary people across the country have been cheering from the sidelines.
Notably, the original Lionesses of 1972 have spoken up about feeling “angry and frustrated” at not being given caps by the FA. The first official England women’s team, Lynda Hale and Maggie Pearce – players in the original line-up – have aired their frustrations at feeling under-appreciated by the FA, with none of the 1972 Lionesses invited to the England games at the 2022 Euros.
“Because it’s become so popular and they’re doing so well and getting so much publicity, it hurts a lot”, Lynda remarked. “Nobody knows us and we’re supposed to have started it. It’s sad in a way that we did something historic but nobody knows us. Family and friends know, but other than that, there’s no recognition at all. I doubt if we’d have got any if we hadn’t had the Euros in Southampton. They couldn’t even give us tickets to our own town.”
“Our biggest gripe is we would like an official cap from the FA. It’s come to light that when the men get picked for the first time to play for England, they get a number showing how many have player before them. In which case we would also like recognition of that. I think that’s something to be proud of. We’re called trailblazers but we’re not recognised.”
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