Football Has Come Home For England!
England’s women created history by winning their first-ever major trophy at Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening in what was a monumental occasion for both the country and women’s football. More than 17 million people tuned in to witness the Lionesses’ moment of glory as they were crowned European champions. The match itself was a fitting finale to what was a record-breaking tournament, with it all coming down to a dramatic winning goal by substitute Chloe Kelly in extra time.
The game came to life in the second half after both teams, widely seen as the tournament’s best, had appeared to cancel each other out for much of the previous 45 minutes. Ella Toone came on to score the opener in normal time with a stunning lob fit for any final. However, Germany’s Lina Magull then set up a nervous ending, equalising in the 79th minute with an instinctive finish at the near post. As the match went deep into extra time both teams came close to stealing the trophy, and it appeared as though they could only be separated by a dreaded penalty shootout. That was before Chloe Kelly poked home a loose ball from a corner with ten minutes to go, sending Wembley, and the country watching at home, into ecstasy. Kelly’s iconic shirtless celebration was an empowering moment and echoed USA footballer Brandi Chastain, when she scored the decisive penalty in the 1999 World Cup final.
The emotional scenes that followed the final whistle were an outpouring of joy. The build-up to the final was one never before seen in women’s football in this country. The team spirit shown by the women, as well as the standard of football on display throughout the competition, captured the nation’s heart. The Lionesses were roared on by a Wembley packed to the rafters, as 87,192 jubilant supporters, a record for an international women’s match in Europe, witnessed history in the making. That figure took the total tournament attendance to 574,875, smashing the previous 2019 tournament in the Netherlands by more than double.
The final was the crowning moment of an amazing tournament as the Lionesses managed to ‘bring it home’, cementing the women’s game in this country for generations to come. The crowds and jubilant celebrations will only enhance what was already a growing fanbase for women’s football. The future is bright, records will continue to be broken and young girls everywhere will be inspired to take up the sport.
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