Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William hail ‘inspirational’ Euro 2022 triumph

Football players and celebrities joined the queen and Prince William in congratulating the Lionesses

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England’s historic Euro 2022 win is “an inspiration for girls and women” across the country, Queen Elizabeth II said on Sunday.

The Lionesses beat Germany 2-1 during extra-time in the final at Wembley, Chloe Kelly scoring the winner after Ella Toone’s wonderful lobbed opener had been cancelled out by Lina Magull with 11 minutes of normal time remaining.

“My warmest congratulations, and those of my family, go to you all on winning the European Women’s Football Championships," the queen said in a message shared on the Royal Family Twitter account.

“It is a significant achievement for the entire team, including your support staff.

“The Championships and your performance in them have rightly won praise. However, your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so deservedly earned.

“You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.

“It is my hope that you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today.”

The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of the Football Association and presented Sarina Wiegman’s side with their medals, also congratulated the team for their “sensational” win, tweeting: “An incredible win @lionesses and the whole nation couldn’t be prouder of you all.

“Wonderful to see history in the making tonight at Wembley, congratulations! W.”

Following the match, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced that grassroots facilities would be named after the 23 England players in and around each of their home towns or places that shaped their footballing careers.

“Millions of women and girls have been inspired by the team’s success and honouring their achievements will mean they leave a lasting impression at grassroots facilities across England,” said Ms Dorries.

Ian Wright believes England reaped the rewards for all their hard work after a memorable triumph.

“I can’t even put into words the amount of work that’s gone into this and they’re getting what they deserve,” Wright said in his role as a summariser for the BBC.

“I can’t believe it. I’m so proud – I’m still a bit shocked by it. This generation of ladies have had to fight and scrap and do everything – that’s why everyone is in tears because this is the culmination of a lot of hard work, a lot of suffering.”

Wright urged clubs to make it easier for fans to attend Women’s Super League games to build on the momentum generated by England’s win, adding: “The players want fans in those stadiums.

“They have to make it easier for them to get there. Why do I, as an Arsenal fan, have to be a member of all the WSL teams to go to an away game? They have to remove those barriers.”

Former England and Arsenal defender Alex Scott hailed the win as an “absolute dream” but was also keen to highlight how the women’s game had previously struggled for attention.

“Let’s just remember, back in 2018 we were begging people to host, in their stadiums, a women’s game for this Euros,” Scott said on BBC One.

“So many people said no. I hope you’re all looking at yourselves right now because you weren’t brave enough.

“I’m not standing up at corporate events in front of sponsors any more begging for them to get involved in the women’s game, because, you know what? If you’re not involved then you’ve missed the boat, you’ve missed the train because it’s finally left the station and it is gathering speed.”

Scott said England’s win reminded her of the United States winning the World Cup in 1999, adding: “It changed the face of soccer, football in America forever. This is the moment in England.”

Jonas Eidevall praised the performances of Beth Mead and Leah Williamson, whom he manages at Arsenal, adding: “Beth has been incredible and Leah Williamson basically did not put a foot wrong.

“Coming in as captain, I think she’s been a phenomenal leader.”

Kelly celebrated her winning goal by taking off her shirt and whirling it above her head, a celebration made famous by Brandi Chastain after netting the winning penalty for the United States in the 1999 World Cup.

The game was still in progress when Chastain took to social media to congratulate Kelly, writing: “I see you @Chloe_Kelly98 well done. Enjoy the free rounds of pints and dinners for the rest of your life from all of England. Cheers!”

England men’s captain Harry Kane wrote on Twitter: “Absolutely unreal scenes at Wembley!! Massive congrats to the amazing @Lionesses !! @ellatoone99 take a bow for that finish too.”

And former England striker Gary Lineker wrote: “Football is a simple game. 22 women chase a ball for 90 minutes and, at the end, England actually win. Congratulations @lionesses . Fabulous.”

Updated: July 31, 2022, 11:34 PM
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