Wiegman’s victory: Will Women’s football finally receive the respect it deserves?
Two weeks on from what can only be described as a summer to remember, with Sarina Wiegman and Leah Williamson leading the lionesses to bring it home!
574,875 fans witnessed history over the last month, with existing England legends- including Ellen White and Jill Scott- finally gaining the recognition they deserve, as well as upcoming role models- like Lauren Hemp and Ella Toone- becoming household names. Beth Mead, player of the tournament and top goal scorer, has received extreme recognition, inspiring a future generation. Not only this, but over 17 million people watched the final against Germany, showcasing the impressive coverage this tournament received.
Despite this, there are speculations about whether this popularity surrounding the women’s game will be able to continue.
Since Kateryna Monzul blew the full-time whistle, change is already evident. As Skipper Williamson has advocately mentioned throughout each stage of the tournament and then finalised in her post match interview with Sky Sports, ‘the legacy of this tournament is societal change’. This hasn’t just been a moment of winning and success on the pitch, but an emotive and powerful one off of the pitch. Within just 24 hours of the tickets being released for the game against the United States on the 7th October, England sold out Wembley Stadium. The future's looking good for attendance.
Progression isn’t just seen through sold out stadiums, but through the enthusiasm, hope and passion young girls now have as they are visible. From speaking to Megan Abbott, a coach at Bloomsbury Football, the concept that ‘if you can see it, you can be it’ has resonated highly during training sessions with their girls academy since. This is because more girls are participating in drills and wanting to play competitively, with many attempting back-heels after Alessia Russo’s incredible goal. This England squad is arguably more influential than any team before, in which their success will likely continue to filter through the nation, expressing the key values that the football pitch is just as much a place for women.
With increased interest into the Women’s game from just this one tournament, there’s extreme excitement and hope in just how big the game can get within the next few years after many more matches.