‘This is just the start’: England Women target World Cup and leaving a legacy after Euro 2022 glory

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
‘This is just the start’: England Women target World Cup and leaving a legacy after Euro 2022 glory
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

England players believe that winning the European Championship is “only the start” of the explosion of women’s football, as Sarina Wiegman admitted expectation “will go through the roof” at next summer’s World Cup.

The Lionesses won a first major trophy in women’s football, and a first for England since 1966, with a 2-1 win over Germany after extra-time at Wembley.

A record crowd for a men’s or women’s Euros of 87,192 raised the roof when substitute Chloe Kelly poked home the winner in the 110th-minute, while the match attracted a peak television audience of 17.4 million on BBC One, a ­British record for a women’s football game.

Midfielder Georgia Stanway said: “Life’s changed for women’s football, life’s changed for the future generation, the next generation. Everybody’s going to be rooting for England. We’ve inspired a nation. We want people to jump on the bandwagon, we want people to fill stadiums. We just want people to stay with us because this is only the start.”

England Lionesses 2022 UEFA Women’s Euro Victory Celebration For Fans in Trafalgar Square

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
(PA)
(PA)
(PA)
(PA)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(PA)
(PA)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England captain Leah ­Williamson said there are “no excuses” for failing to turn this summer’s interest into mass participation in the sport.

“You won’t see the impact of this tournament [immediately],” she said. “Think about the pool of players that is going to widen. Think about what it would have taken to get these 23 players here and think about the opportunity that’s now there.

“The room for development and to diversify the women’s game is incredible. With all of those things now, there’s no excuses for anybody. Everybody should be putting everything in place to make sure we get as many young kids that are talented into an England shirt as we can.”

Lucy Bronze says the standard of the game will continue to improve if clubs back their women’s sides in the same way as the men’s teams.

“Look at Champions League winners in the men’s leagues and what their clubs give them — the facilities, the training, the backroom staff — there’s not any women’s team that really have that kind of backing,” Bronze said. “So we can lift the level a lot, and I’m not just talking about England. Every nation could do that. There’s definitely still a little more of that mountain to climb.”

The Lionesses will be among the favourites to win a first Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next summer and head coach Wiegman (left) warned that competition will be even fiercer Down Under.

“Now we’ve won the Euros, the expectation will go through the roof again!” said the Dutchwoman, who retained the Euros after leading the Netherlands to victory on home soil in 2017. “First we have got to party. We are really, really proud of ourselves. We’ve all seen that the development of this game has gone so fast that many countries could win this tournament and that is going to be [the same] at the World Cup.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting