It’s coming home! England happy as soccer women win Euro

LONDON (AP) – “It’s coming home!”

England won a major international football tournament on Sunday for the first time in more than half a century. The fact that it was the women’s team, not the men’s, that endured decades of pain, made it all the more sweet for many fans.

Crowds cheered at London’s Wembley Stadium, in fan zones across the country and in pubs, clubs and living rooms as the whistle blew after extra time with England 2, Germany 1 scoring. It was the first European victory for the Lioness of England. , and the first major international trophy for any England team – male or female – since 1966.

In London’s Trafalgar Square, fans chanted “It’s coming home!” – a reference to the anthem of England “Three Lions”, with its chorus “Football is coming home” – and jumped into a public fountain in celebration.

“I’m so happy,” said 24-year-old Becca Stewart. “It shows that after all these years, women’s football is something that should be taken into account and shouted about. We did it – men couldn’t do it but we did!”

At Wembley, the crowd broke into the song “Sweet Caroline,” a Neil Diamond song, which has become a football anthem.

“The girls finally brought football home,” said Mary Kane, who joined the game with her 8-year-old daughter. “We’re happy! It’s historic. It was magic there and a breakthrough moment for the women’s sport.”

Whatever the outcome, Lioness has energized a nation and brought interest in the women’s sport in Britain to an entirely new level. His success has provided a welcome distraction from Britain’s political turmoil and its cost of living crisis amid rising food and fuel prices.

After the tournament received an unprecedented level of media coverage, the final was watched at Wembley by a record crowd of over 87,000 and a huge TV audience. More than 9 million people watched the broadcast of England’s 4-0 semi-final win over Sweden last week.

Before Sunday, no UK team – England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – had won a major international football tournament since England’s win over West Germany in the 1966 Men’s World Cup.

At the time, women’s teams were banned from using the facilities by the Football Association, the sport’s governing body in England. The FA ruled in 1921 that “the game of football is grossly unsuitable for women and should not be encouraged.” The ban was not lifted until 50 years later.

Now, Jade Monroe said, watching the women’s finals on the big screen in Trafalgar Square, her 6-year-old daughter will know she can “do whatever she wants in life.”

England’s trophy drought was broken almost a year ago when the men reached the final of a pandemic-delayed Euro 2020 competition, only to lose to Italy in a penalty shootout.

The dynamic men’s team, led by coach Gareth Southgate, was also hailed as the team representing modern Britain – a multi-ethnic team whose members took a knee against racism before the Games, supporting LGBT pride. , campaigned hard against poverty and defeated longtime rivals such as Germany.

The 2021 men’s Euro final was marred by some drunkenness outside Wembley Stadium, however, and racist social media messages directed at some players after England’s defeat were a reminder that there is still a long way to go.

There was no repetition of rude behavior in Sunday’s match, where the crowd consisted of several families with football-crazed girls.

In many parts of England, girls still have fewer opportunities to play than boys, and the national women’s team lacks the diversity of the men’s side. But its stars have enthralled a nation.

Mitra Wilson, who watched the final at Trafalgar Square, said the team was an inspiration to her 8- and 9-year-old daughters.

“It’s empowering them to know that they can do it and that nothing should hold them back,” she said.

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