The women's national England team won the European Football Championship in July 2022, bringing home a significant international trophy for the first time since the men's team won the World Cup in 1966. In a tight, hard-fought game at Wembley, they defeated Germany, deemed as England's biggest rival of football, by a score of two goals to one. However, England's female footballers have done more than just win the championship.
The team has captured the public's attention. The crowd for the match was 87,192, the largest for a Euros football match in either men's or women's football. Newspapers are dedicating multiple pages to women's sports coverage, and England's key players are becoming well-known. The standard of football was described as 'insane' by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp! And the games themselves are attracting an entirely new audience. Watching women's international football feels like a different world than watching men's. Crowds in men's football are getting older, but in women's football, the cost of admission, civility, and increased safety means that around half of the audience is often made up of children. Inclusivity, participation, and diversity are at the heart of women's football.
Mr Avory, one of our teachers was fortunate enough to get tickets to the match (see his video below of the moment the final whistle went). 'This was my first experience of watching women's football and what a match it was! I actually preferred watching it than the men's football. There was more energy in the crowd, the spirits from everyone was more positive and it was lovely to see a diverse range of people watching. It wasn't just proportionally men; there were whole families there and I had the best time ever!'
According to Women in Sport CEO Stephanie Hilborne OBE, there is now an opportunity to engage more girls in sport and exercise before they are lost to a lifetime of in activity. 'The Lionesses success was a unifying moment for the country and it is great to have data to show the positive impact the growing profile of women's sport has had on the children and young people who watched,' she said. "Both boys and girls have been inspired by the passion, talent and positive team dynamic on display but the biggest impact has been on sporty girls and young women. Suddenly girls who love sport and play a lot of it, can dream in the way boys have always been able to. It is fantastic to see this and to find out that many more boys now recognise the injustice of treating women as second-class citizens in sport."