A sea of flags and rousing cheers greeted England’s victorious Lions as they paraded with the Euro 2022 trophy at a celebration in London’s Trafalgar Square on Monday.
Although many of the players did not sleep after their victory over Germany, the team attended a hastily prepared party in the heart of London with 7,000 screaming fans.
To chants of ‘football is coming home’, the team took to the stage before once again lifting the trophy and enjoying a parade of tickers. Many of the players wore t-shirts with ‘Home’ emblazoned across the front and match winner Chloe Kelly wowed the crowd with a rendition of Neil Diamond’s ‘Football Coming Home’. Sweet Caroline While dancing on stage.
Captain Leah Williamson summed up the day by saying: “I think we’ve been partying more than playing football in the last 24 hours. She will receive the title of “Freedom of the New City of Milton Keynes” in recognition of her achievement.
She said: “I think England have had an amazing tournament, we’ve changed the game in this country, in Europe and around the world. But we said we want our legacy to succeed and that’s what we did. »
The team was credited with inspiring the nation and the success reignited interest in women’s football.
The Lions beat Germany 2-1 after extra time in front of 87,000 fans at Wembley Stadium on Sunday to win the country’s first major tournament title since 1966 and set a television viewership record.
The match attracted 17.4 million viewers, a record for a women’s football match in the UK, according to figures released by the BBC.
The previous record was England’s 2019 World Cup semi-final loss to the United States, which was enjoyed by over 11.7 million viewers.
The lack of an open-top bus parade through the city, which the semi-finalist men’s teams had enjoyed earlier, drew some criticism. She was not invited to Downing Street as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was attending the funeral of former Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble.
Fans in Trafalgar Square, with tickets distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, hailed the win as a “huge” moment for women’s football, while FA Women’s Football Director Baroness Sue Campbell said England’s victory would make the difference “amazing”.
Jiya Sangani and others participated in the celebration. she said National“We also participated in the competition yesterday. It was simply awesome. It’s a new chapter, a monumental moment, and a greater emphasis on women in sports. »
Meanwhile, French tourist Christopher DeSilva said: “That’s it [a source of’] Proud of the English, and indeed of the world, I think it is the best symbol of women’s freedom. »
Said a young fan named Pandora from England National At her school, usually only boys play football, “but now that the Lions have won, I have the courage to play football at school and at home”.
Ryan Groombridge, 40, and Gemma Groombridge, 43, traveled to the capital from Oldham to watch the final with their two daughters.
Groombridge, who coaches the 250-member Crompton FC women’s football club, said it was a big moment for women’s football.
“It’s good for them to get some more recognition,” he said. “Hopefully it will continue to grow and we’ll continue to have decent-sized crowds. »
He added that the lionesses are “fantastic role models” for his daughters Ruby and Amelia, who are 11 and 13.
Yvonne Morrison, 61, took her grandson Ronnie, nine, to see the lions in Trafalgar Square.
Ms Morrison, from Wiltshire, said it was “absolutely amazing that they have been able to go this far and raise the profile of women’s football, which is long overdue”.
“I hope this will increase their salary and status. The time has come for them to be on equal footing. »
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: “History makers. Record breakers. Game changers. Incredible Scenes at Trafalgar Square Fan Party”. He said he couldn’t be prouder of the Lions.
Baroness Campbell told BBC News: “I think it really takes it to another level. But I think what happened yesterday goes beyond football.
“I think it will change the public perception of women in sport and I hope it will give women and girls real optimism that if they want to achieve something in life, whatever it is, if they work for it, they can get there. »
Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said England’s win would boost women’s football there.
“The last few years have been amazing,” he said. “We invested a lot and the Lions took the opportunity and made something amazing.
“Yesterday was an incredible month and an incredible day.
“I think it really gives a boost to everything we’ve done in women’s football.
“There is no reason why the same number of girls as boys should not be playing, which will inspire a new generation of players. »
The celebrations came after Queen Elizabeth II praised the team, saying their success went beyond the trophy.
She said in a statement: “You have set an inspiring example for girls and women today and generations to come. »
Among those supporting the game from the touchline was the Duke of Cambridge, who said after the game it was “amazing to see history in motion”, while captain Williamson said it was “the proudest moment of my life”.
David Baddiel said it was great to hear the football anthem. Three lions Singing at Wembley Stadium on Sundays.
The comedian told BBC Radio 4 that in 1996 Frank Skinner and rock band Lightning Seeds recorded the classic football song. today The program: “It’s awesome, it’s amazing.
“It was amazing to hear her sing at Wembley yesterday when we won a final – I really thought it would never happen.
It was so wonderful to think, ‘Oh, we’re going to win’ – it never happened.
“It really happened, and then the whole team came to the press conference and broke into chaos … [it] It was brilliant, in the spirit of the Lions, the way they played was joyous, unrestrained and brilliant.
“So yeah, I’m very happy about that. »
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