Well it was never going to be easy, was it? It is England after all. But my goodness, our ladies football team know how to turn it on.
It’s not just the winning of the Euro 22 tournament that will stay in the memory, it’s how it was done and the lasting effect it will have for a whole generation of kids.
The level of skill, the tactical awareness in all areas of the pitch that had been woefully absent just a few short years ago, the commitment and the example the Lionesses have set to everyone, of either sex, who loves football can’t be overstated
I’m fortunate enough to have been around the last time an England football team won a major tournament, 56 years ago. For most of the 87,000 plus people at a sold out Wembley and the 17.4 million glued to the television or sat in front of pub garden big screens on Sunday, this was a first.
Genius head coach Sarina Wiegman has created not just a winning side, but a squad of role models, many of whom are young enough to be playing with teammates who were their own role models – Ellen White and Lucy Bronze have at least eight years on many of the girls, Jill Scott (who deserves an OBE for services to the F-word) even more.
Fifteen names, and that of their manager, will now be seared into the psyche of young ladies like my granddaughters, who need never hear that they can’t do something because they’re a girl and whether it’s the Alessia Russo back heel in the semi-final against Sweden, Georgia Stanway’s incredible winner against Spain, the Ella Toone chip, the incredible pinpoint passing of Keira Walsh, the solid leadership of Leah Williamson, the reliability of keeper Mary Earps, even the crafty grin of winning goal scorer Chloe Kelly as the German defence became more and more frustrated with the clock ticking down or any of the six goals that Beth Mead scored to secure the tournament’s golden boot (but NOT Millie Bright’ singing!), the evidence that they can achieve anything they set their minds to will be there to drive them on.
Can’t? Just watch them!
And the rest of us are unlikely to be immune to it either as the country’s newest, and for a change fully deserving, celebrities are likely to be ever present on magazine covers, tabloid front pages and TV screens for the foreseeable future.
This wasn’t the moment women’s football came of age, it was three and a half weeks in which the game, on entertainment value and audience numbers, staked its claim at the forefront of sport, not on the fringes. I hope that the Premier League clubs who refused to allow their grounds to be used to host these games were feeling a bit silly on Monday morning.
I don’t think there can be much doubt about who is going to be team of the year at the BBC Sports Personality awards in December and it will be completely justified.
Who would bet against the Lionesses winning the World Cup next?
If I was diminutive bean counter Richy Rishi Sunak, I would be thanking my lucky stars that culture secretary (which in itself is surely some kind of sick joke) Nadine Dorries is on Liz Truss’s side.
With friends like that…
Meanwhile our work experience Chancellor of the Exchequer has changed his tune from I will be making no further comment a couple of week ago, to: Tax cuts, Liz? I can do that. Let me do that. Please please keep me in my job Liz. I think you’re great Liz, really really great. Go team Liz.
I’m loving Ellie Simmonds on the BBC’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games. As much as I like Paddy, I would give her the job hosting A Question Of Sport.
Quote of the week:
“You could almost be watching the men.”
Outrageous comment about the women’s Euro 22 tournament by BBC Breakfast TV’s Roger Johnson on Wednesday that had me sucking the air in between my teeth.