Fresh from winning Euro 2022 and the inaugural women’s final on home turf, the England women’s team have now set their sights on the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer.
Sarina Wiegman’s side are one of the favorites after their famous Euro victory, despite seeing their 30-game unbeaten streak end in their last preparation game against Australia.
With some fitness doubts and players retiring, there are likely to be several new faces. Chelsea right-back Niamh Charles is hoping to secure a spot in the 23-player squad.
“I think from watching it and seeing what this last year has involved, it’s really exciting,” she said. “I think we’re aware that it’s big for the women’s game and for inspiring young girls, we’re all proud to be a part of it.”
The Lionesses won the Euros in the same year as the 50th anniversary of England’s first official international game after a ban on women’s football in the country was lifted.
A lot has changed since then, with the Lionesses’ Euro triumph sparking huge interest in women’s football. This season, average attendances in the Women’s Super League have increased by 200 percent
“We’ve really kept the fans coming, so we’ve seen a massive increase in fans watching our Women’s Super League games, our Championship games,” said Baroness Sue Campbell, Head of Women’s Football at the English Football Association
This peak in interest has seen more young girls get involved in the beautiful game. At one football club in south London, several new players have been inspired to sign up over the past year.
“We were really inspired by the fact that the women won the Euros and we watched every single that they played and it was really cool,” one of them said.
The Lionesses have not only inspired, they have also driven concrete change. Thanks to them, girls will be given equal access to football and other sport at school. That is because a campaign led by the Lionesses after their Euro 2022 win has led to the UK government announcing a project costing several billion pounds to help level up the game.