Football fever hits Wembley as England meet Germany in Euro 2022 final - in pictures

Lionesses are biding for first tournament win for England women

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England fans were starting to party at Wembley on Sunday ahead of the Euro 2022 final against Germany.

Thousands were gathering at the national stadium with a crowd of 87,000 expected to set a new high for a final at either the men's or women's European Championship.

Captain Leah Williamson called on the Lionesses to seize the opportunity of a lifetime, as England have never won a major tournament in the women's game and have waited 56 years for any triumph since the men's 1966 World Cup.

"Tomorrow is a day of opportunity," said Williamson on the eve of the game.

"That's the only thing that makes it any different to any other game, that the stakes are that much higher. But this is what we all live for and this is why I play football."

Anticipation is reaching fever pitch in a nation where women's football was banned for nearly 50 years until 1970.

On top of a sold-out Wembley, a crowd of 7,000 is set to congregate to watch the final on big screens in London's Trafalgar Square.

Coach Sarina Wiegman is unbeaten in 19 games since taking charge of England in September.

The reserved Dutch coach has achieved her goal of inspiring a nation, but admitted earlier this week to wanting to hide in her own "bunker" to block out the hype around the final.

"I'm not stupid. I see things happening and it's really incredible," said Wiegman. "I really enjoy that too, but then you come back to what your job is, and that's getting ready for Germany."

Germany boss Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said all the pressure was on England as they try to deal with the weight of expectation from the home crowd.

"It will be a football feast with millions of spectators all over Europe," she said. "At the beginning of the game, Wembley will be English and it would be nice if it belonged to us at the end."

Updated: July 31, 2022, 12:39 PM
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