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Nothing will stop women’s football thriving in England – Ian Wright
Goals by Beth Mead, Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo and Fran Kirby sent the Lionesses to Wembley.
Ian Wright says nothing will stop women’s football thriving in England after the Lionesses stormed into the Euro 2022 final with a 4-0 thrashing of Sweden on Tuesday.
Sarina Wiegman’s side overcame a tough start at Bramall Lane to blow away a team ranked second in the world, with Beth Mead, Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo and Fran Kirby on target.
Former Arsenal forward Wright said during BBC’s coverage he felt “as proud as I’ve felt of any England side” and reiterated his positivity on its breakfast programme ahead of Sunday’s Wembley final.
“The women’s game is here and it is here to stay. What we are seeing with these ladies, and the way they are inspiring everybody, is nothing is going to stop it,” Wright told BBC Breakfast.
“I love it, I hope they can finish it off simply because they deserve to. And again all those heroes, the mums, the dads, the brothers, the uncles, all those people that had to take those girls all over the country just to play football, they must be sitting there so proud at the moment.
“When you consider there is only 63 per cent of girls who have the same access as boys to football, this is why I am hoping by 2024 what the FA and Barclays are doing is making sure that (access) can happen in every school for boys and girls and 100 per cent of girls can get the opportunity to play football.”
Former England and Arsenal defender Alex Scott believes the team’s success is a result of years of hard work to grow the women’s game.
“It is hard for me not to get emotional right now because the amount of investment which has gone into the women’s game is for a moment like this,” she said on the BBC.
The women's game is here and it is here to stay. What we are seeing with these ladies, and the way they are inspiring everybody, is nothing is going to stop it
- Ian Wright on BBC Breakfast
“For this team to get to Wembley, they are creating something special and deserve every accolade which is coming their way.
“But (after) the FA investment, everyone who has been involved in women’s football has been waiting for this moment. It’s special.”
Scott was impressed by the squad effort it took to reach this weekend’s final.
“Is this real? What England have shown throughout this tournament, which is absolutely a credit to them, is all sides (of the game),” she said.
“You’ve seen them frustrated in their opening game, you’ve seen them blow away Norway, you’ve seen them on the ropes against Spain and today a pure and intelligent England finding a way back into the game and brushing away Sweden.”
Former England midfielder Fara Williams said Wiegman’s side had answered any questions over their ability to go deep into a tournament.
“I don’t have the words to explain or express how it feels. I’m super proud of the girls and what they have done,” she told BBC One.
“They had a tough quarter-final and it was a game people, myself included, questioned were they at the level to go this far – and they have gone on to dominate the team (ranked) second in the world.
“The game is in a fantastic place. I’m super excited for the final on Sunday. I don’t care who they get.”
England’s victory earned praise from members of the men’s national team, who reached their European Championship final last summer.
Men’s captain Harry Kane wrote on Twitter: “Yesss @Lionesses ! Bring on the final”, while Raheem Sterling highlighted the Mead and Bronze connection that led to the first two goals.
Record England goalscorer Wayne Rooney tweeted: “What a performance by @Lionesses tonight. A well deserved #WEURO2022 final coming up. Congratulations to all the players and staff.”