LONDON, August 1 (Reuters) – England captain Leah Williamson said the Lionesses had inspired women and girls across the country as her side celebrated their Euro 2022 triumph in central London on Monday following their 2-1 extra-time win over England. Germany the day before.
Sarina Wiegman’s side unveiled the trophy in front of thousands of screaming fans less than a day after winning their first major title by eclipsing eight-time European champions Germany at Wembley Stadium.
“I think England have hosted an incredible tournament and we’ve changed the game in this country – and hopefully across Europe and around the world,” Williamson said.
“We said we wanted to build on our legacy of winning and that’s what we did.
“The legacy of the tournament has already been created before this last game – what we have done for women and young girls who can look up and aspire to be us.”
Thousands of fans, many draped in English flags or wearing replica shirts, crammed into the fenced-off celebration area of London’s Trafalgar Square, with thousands more circling the perimeter after queues formed at 07:00 local time.
The team celebrated in style on the makeshift stage, dancing and singing and lifting the trophy, a once-in-a-lifetime sight for many young England fans. The England senior team’s previous success was the men’s team winning the World Cup in 1966, at a time when women’s football was banned in the country.
Some players looked a little teary after celebrating until the early hours, but still woke up to sing classic English anthems with the crowd and take selfies.
Offices around the square opened their windows to also catch a glimpse of England’s heroines who transformed many people’s perception of the women’s game with their high-quality performances and ability to draw record crowds.
Full-back Lucy Bronze drew loud cheers especially when she said ‘there’s still a lot we can still get our hands on next year’, referring to the World Cup taking place in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.
(Report by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdansk and Christian Radnedge in London Editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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