By Andy Baber in Birmingham
The Lionesses’ inspirational run can provide the springboard for Team England success at the Commonwealth Games, according to Team England boss Ian Metcalfe.
Sarina Wiegman’s high-flying England have swept aside all before them at Women’s EURO 2022, thrashing Olympic silver medallists Sweden 4-0 to reach Sunday's final at Wembley.
Only Germany now stands in the way of the Lionesses lifting the trophy for the first time, with their perfect run to the showpiece giving the nation belief that “football’s coming home”.
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And Metcalfe is confident Team England can capitalise on the feel-good momentum created by the women’s football team and use it to their advantage at Birmingham 2022.
“Our whole team is hugely thrilled and excited by what the Lionesses have achieved,” he said. “They have demonstrated what is possible to do with a fantastic team spirit, and a strong set of values.
“We will be completely rooting for them on Sunday afternoon, obviously some of our athletes will not be able to watch as they’ll be competing themselves, but I know as many of our team can do will be roaring them on.
“It’s that springboard, which shows our team the power of sport and the excitement and inspiration the Lionesses have brought to the entire country.
“We’re living in the greatest time of dislocation in all our lives, whether that be through the pandemic, or through the challenges we face in our everyday lives through the cost-of-living issues.
“Sport has the power to unify the nation, to inspire the nation and our athletes, I think they already knew that but to be given a practical example by the Lionesses on Tuesday and hopefully in the final is extraordinary. For us that feeds through into our very own Super Sunday.
“A week on Sunday we have the finals of the women’s hockey, women’s netball, and women’s T20 cricket all on the same day. Wouldn’t it be extraordinary if the Lionesses can win this Sunday and that flows through into the continued development and rise of women’s sport in this country?”
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will comprise of over 400 athletes as they look to improve on the 136 medals won at Gold Coast 2018.
More than 1,100 elite athletes are supported by UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science, and medical support.
And Metcalfe said the backing from The National Lottery is pivotal to Team England’s success as they look to use home advantage to usurp Australia at the top of the medal table.
“Without the National Lottery, we simply wouldn’t be funded,” he added.
“A significant proportion of our funding comes from TNL, flows down through Sport England into the NGBs.
“We’ve had fantastic support from Sport England through this cycle, and of course independently Sport England also fund some of the sports which are not Olympic sports, the likes of netball, squash, and lawn bowls.
“Without that funding, us as an organisation would not be able to do the job that we do presenting our 429 elite athletes to the Games.”
National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.