Fans of the Lionesses celebrating their first ever World Cup final following their 3-1 win over home favourites Australia have praised the team for returning football glory to Britain after a 57-year wait since the men’s team last went all the way.
Australian fans were left crying into their beers as goals for England from Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo put England one win away from lifting a second major trophy in just under 13 months.
Second half strikes from Russo and Hemp silenced the home crowd of 75,000 hostile fans amid a febrile atmosphere in Sydney, with Hemp’s strike coming just minutes after Sam Kerr had equalised following an early Toone goal.
Amid chaotic celebrations on the final whistle, fans pointed out that England’s female squad have defied years of bans on them even being allowed on the pitch, staunch critics and recent injury setbacks to do ‘what the men have failed to do’.
Manager Sarina Wiegman, who is also the last female coach in the tournament, will see her side face Spain in the World Cup final at 11am GMT on Sunday.
England’s footballers celebrate following victory in the Women’s World Cup semi-final at Stadium Australia in Sydney today
Ella Toone celebrates after scoring a goal in the Women’s World Cup semi-final match today
Following the end of six painful minutes of stoppage time, one fan told the Lionesses: ‘Wow! Women are doing what our men haven’t been able to do. Let’s get football home!’
Another said it should ‘light a fire’ under the men’s squad who have been ‘upstaged’ by the Lionesses’ flawless performance.
And former Countdown star Carol Vorderman proclaimed it is a ‘great day for women’.
She wrote on social media: ‘Sweet Caroline. A great day for women. Congratulations Lionesses.
‘And Congratulations to the Matildas. All of you, how you enjoy yourselves how you give an inspiration to all young girls. When I was your age we couldn’t ever have dreamed of these times. It’s wonderful.’
Other fans also hailed the team for stealing the spotlight, with one quipping: ‘Great game and no hairdressers running on after each tackle like in the men’s games these days.’
A second agreed that the nature of the women’s game was more enjoyable as they praised the lack of ‘c**ppy fighting’ between players.
Another wrote: ‘It’s funny that misogynistic men will tell women to ‘get in the kitchen’ when Sarina Wiegman is right there cooking something special with this England team.’
Alessia Russo of England celebrates after scoring her team’s third goal during the Women’s World Cup semi-final today
England’s Lauren Hemp scores their second goal during the Women’s World Cup semi-final in Sydney today
England’s players celebrate winning the Women’s World Cup semi-final match against Australia at Stadium Australia today
It is not just the England team who have made a permanent mark in history by reaching the final.
Their manager Sarina Wiegman has now become the first manager ever to take two national sides, whether men or women, to the World Cup final – and she will be hoping to take home the full glory with the Lionesses on Sunday.
Her previous success with the Netherlands side came to a painful end when they lost the 2019 final to the USA.
Also among the squad’s fans are the Prince and Princess of Wales, who shared a personal message from William: ‘What a phenomenal performance from the Lionesses – on to the final! Commiserations to The Matildas, you’ve played brilliantly and been fantastic co-hosts of this World Cup.’
England Lioness Beth Mead also tweeted her support of the team, after a devastating ACL injury ruled her out of the tournament.
Posting on Twitter she said: ‘World Cup final baby, get in!’
Pundits including Gary Lineker also celebrated the win, as he joked ‘it’s been a while’ since England were last in the final.
The last time England made the final, the women’s tournament did not exist.
The 1966 squad covered the nation in glory, but the men’s game has failed to provide a similar run since.
But the Lionesses, many of whom have been in the squad for years, have now provided the European trophy and could also take home the World Cup within just 13 months.
Toone’s spectacular opening goal meant she became the first player, male or female, to score in the quarter, semi and final in major tournaments – after her contribution to England’s Euros win last year.
And Sarina Wiegman has become the first ever coach to lead two different sides to the World Cup final, whether male or female.
Elsewhere, the Lionesses also received congratulations from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer.
Paddy McGuinness and Piers Morgan also took to social media to congratulate the team.