England’s Lionesses roar with pride as they celebrate their history-making Euro 2022 triumph
ENGLAND’S Lionesses roar with pride as they celebrate their history-making Euro 2022 triumph.
They showed male stars how it’s done as football finally came home yesterday — 56 years after our 1966 World Cup win — in a 2-1 extra-time victory over old rivals Germany at a sold-out Wembley.
The Queen hailed the team as “an inspiration”.
Substitute Chloe Kelly fired the Lionesses to glory — and tore off her shirt to celebrate as the nation erupted in joy.
Football finally came home — 56 years after the men’s 1966 World Cup triumph.
Chloe’s toe-poke into the net sealed a 2-1 extra-time triumph against old rivals Germany after a titanic battle at Wembley Stadium.
But it was the 24-year-old striker’s wild celebration of her historic strike which will live in the memory.
Manchester City star Chloe screamed as she wheeled away toward the touchline in her white sports bra — and was promptly booked.
But no one in the record-breaking crowd cared a jot about the caution as minutes later the final whistle was blown on an epic win.
Ecstatic Chloe said afterwards in a TV interview: “Oh my God. It’s amazing, honestly.
“Thank you every single person that got out to support us. This is unreal.”
She then ran back to her teammates singing “Sweet Caroline” — taking the BBC’s microphone with her.
She later added: “This is what dreams are made of. To be here and to score the winner, wow . . . these girls are special. What a special group of staff. This is amazing.
“I just want to celebrate now.”
The Queen led tributes to the triumphant team, sending her “warmest congratulations”
She said: “It is a significant achievement for the entire team, including your support staff. The Championships and your performance in them have rightly won praise.
“However, 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.
“It is my hope you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today.”
Prince William — who watched the match from the Royal Box — presented the trophy to the Lionesses.
He had earlier sent them a good luck message with daughter Princess Charlotte.
After the match, the Duke of Cambridge tweeted: “An incredible win @Lionesses and the whole nation couldn’t be prouder of you all. Wonderful to see history in the making tonight at Wembley, congratulations! W”
More than 87,200 fans thronged the world’s greatest football stage — the biggest crowd for any Euros final featuring men or women.
It is my hope you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today.
The Lionesses were also roared on by a record 19.5 million TV viewers in homes and pubs across the nation.
England’s first goalscorer Ella Toone shrieked into a TV microphone: “It’s come home!”
“Honestly — the best moment of my life, the best moment of my life . . . ever! I’m absolutely on top of the world. I’m so proud to do it with these girls.”
England’s Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman appeared close to tears as she said: “We won the cup — you said we brought football home but we won the cup. It’s unbelievable, it’s incredible.
“It was so tight with Germany . . . who cares, we won 2-1, and we’re European champions.
“Now I’m going to take some nice pictures — the trophy is heavy!”
Sarina had managed the Netherlands to victory in the previous Women’s Euros Final in 2017.
A deafening chorus of Football’s Coming Home was sung to the rafters on the final whistle followed by newer fans’ anthems — Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and Depeche Mode’s Just Can’t Get Enough.
The stadium erupted again as England captain Leah Williamson lifted the silverware amid an explosion of confetti. Emotional Leah said: “I just can’t stop crying. With something like this we talk and we talk and we talk and we’ve finally done it.” The delirious squad then went on a flag-draped lap of honour, laughing uproariously as they slid towards fans on the confetti-strew turf.
Later England players stormed Sarina’s press conference to sing Football’s Coming Home. They bounced around the table as their team boss laughed and clapped along.
England had taken the lead on 68 minutes of the bruising battle with the physical Germans thanks to a brilliant lobbed goal from Ella Toone.
We won the cup — you said we brought football home but we won the cup. It’s unbelievable, it’s incredible.
England coach Sarina Wiegman
But they were pegged back with barely ten minutes remaining by a Lina Magull equaliser.
It led to half an hour of extra time, but the girls somehow found the grit to grind out the winning goal.
England men’s skipper Harry Kane was among stars at the big match, who also included Spice Girls Geri Horner and Mel C, and Christine McGuinness.
Former captain David Beckham and daughter Harper, 11, had sent a “good luck video” in advance.
Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, tweeted afterwards: “The @Lionesses have only gone and done it, and Kelly is England’s heroine, bra none.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked the team for creating “a summer of fantastic memories for millions”.
He added that pitches and playgrounds would be “filled as never before with girls and women who know beyond any shadow of doubt that football is not just for boys”.
Sarina’s Lionesses were favourites before the big match having roared to Wembley after a 19-game unbeaten run in which they scored 104 goals and conceded just four.
Their 4-0 semi-final thrashing of much-fancied Sweden — capped by Alessia Russo’s stunning back-heeled goal — fired up a surge of football fever across the nation.
Germany is the most successful team in the competition’s history with eight final wins — and prior to kick-off, they had lost just one of their last six meetings with England.
The Lionesses last Euro final against them ended in a crushing 6-2 defeat in Helsinki in 2009.
English and German fans mingled happily before yesterday’s fixture with no reports of trouble — in contrast to the shameful scenes last year at the delayed men’s Euro 2020 final at the same venue.
Footie-mad saleswoman Paris Cooper, 32, from Portsmouth, Hants said: “It’s fantastic that it’s been the women rather than the men who have finally ended England’s 56 years of hurt.
“Let’s hope our men can play half as well at the World Cup in Qatar.”
Nurse Dionne Carroll, 44, of Bournemouth, Dorset, said: “I’ve never been to a football match before today — but thanks to the Lionesses, I’ll be back!”