Twenty years ago women’s football had been the leitmotif of cult films such as ‘Bend it Like Beckham’, but the girls who then hoped to emulate the English champion in small amateur tournaments have grown a lot. And the games are played at Wembley. Almost 90 thousand spectators will be supporting the Lionesses in white next Sunday in the temple of football in an attempt to climb to the top of Europe, in the final against Germany which confirms the dizzying rise of the movement for public, sponsors and media attention. A little more than 12 months after the disappointment of the Three Lions defeated by Roberto Mancini’s Italy, the expectation is great for the English redemption at the end of a record edition of the women’s European Championships, with an unprecedented overall presence in the stadiums that has canceled the previous record, established in the Netherlands five years ago (250 thousand coupons sold). And precisely in England, where the girls of Sarina Wiegman, the Dutch coach hired to guarantee the last leap in quality to the national team, were followed by immeasurable affection in their five outings. Since the debut against Austria, at Old Trafford, which attracted almost 70,000 spectators.
A crowd bath that gave a decisive boost in the triumphal ride of the hosts, from the narrow victory over the Austrians to the poker trimmed in the semifinals to Sweden, which earned the ticket of the third European final for England, defeated in 1984 by the Sweden and in 2009 from Germany. It is the eternal rival, and not only in the female sphere.
In the previous 27, the English national team has been defeated 25 times, although in the last match, last February, they won 3-1. If England has always missed the sharp point, the German record is impressive: eight continental triumphs in as many finals played.
At Wembley, challenge in the challenge, the best attack of the tournament (the English one, with 20 goals) and the best defense (no goals conceded by Germany, except an own goal) will face each other.
Numbers that promise a great show for a sold out match-event that has already captured the attention of media and social networks. On the players, but also on Wiegman herself, who after leading the Netherlands to the triumph in 2017, chases the encore relying mainly on the goals of Beth Mead, 27-year-old Arsenal striker, already scored six times (and 4 assists) equal of the German Popp. But also to the luxury reserve Alessia Russo, Italian origins and US sports training, author of four goals, all taking over from the current match.
The stars of a national team chasing its first international laurel, to seal a story that began exactly 50 years ago, when England as a female debut in Glasgow with a victory over Scotland. At the time, only 400 people paid 20 cents to attend the meeting, Sunday Wembley will be almost 90 thousand. A Champions League final audience, who advised the organizers to strengthen the order service to avoid a repetition of the riots last year. With the risk of tarnishing a historic day for women in football who so far – as also confirmed by the judicial quarrel between the two front page Wags, Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy – had found more space in the newspapers in the gossip columns or in the pages of show. But Beckham is now a spectator.