Whisper it, but it could be coming home. After winning every single game in the Euros so far, the Lionesses have made it all the way to the Euro 2022 final at Wembley. Thanks to four impressive goals scored by Beth Mead, Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo, and Fran Kirby during Tuesday's match against Sweden, it really, truly could be the moment football fans have been waiting for.
The four-nil win sparked mass excitement amongst those watching at home and in the crowd, so much so that one little girl has gone viral after her adorable celebration was caught on camera by the BBC.
When the final whistle blew, the crowd at Bramall Lane in Sheffield burst into triumphant choruses of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline", the song that has become the soundtrack for loud England fans since last year's Men's Euros. The young girl, who was sporting an England kit with her hair in pigtails, was seen punching the air and singing along.
The video isn't just cute — it's a sign of the times. This year's competition has attracted some of the biggest crowds in history, with England's opener against Austria being played in front of 68,781 people at Old Trafford — that's the highest ever attendance at a women's European Championship match. A staggering 9.3 million people tuned in to watch the semi-final victory this week on TV, and the final at Wembley, which sees Becky Hill headline a performance on the Pepsi Max stage to kick off the big match, is completely sold out.
Radio presenter Jane Garvey has pointed out that this little girl is lucky enough to have grown up in a time where women's football is appreciated. She tweeted: "That little girl dancing in her #England strip doesn't know there was a time when girls didn't play football. Great night and well done #Lionessess". Football commentator Jacqui Oatley added: "I'm getting a load of messages from friends who usually have no interest in football. They've been totally gripped by these @Lionesses lasses. Attracting new fans and new sponsors. #doublewhammy #eng #swe #WEURO2022" One football fan, sharing the video of the excited child, said: "This. This is what it's all about #HerGameToo.
"This is what it's all about."
It has been emotional seeing the team fight for their place in the final, and to see a huge proportion of the country — men and women — rally in support for the team. The reaction of this girl is proof that this is so much more than a competition. It's giving a new generation the chance to dream big, and we couldn't be prouder.
The Women's Euros final is taking place on Sunday 31 July at Wembley, and England will be playing against either Germany or France (depending on who wins Wednesday night's semifinal match at Milton Keynes). Plenty of fans are hosting their very own watching parties at home in support of the girls, too. No matter what happens, this competition has been a huge success for women's football. We salute you, Lionesses. Thanks for your hard work and commitment to the sport. You're truly inspirational.