Georgia Stanway blown away by ‘surreal’ England support: ‘We are one nation’

Georgia Stanway says she can feel the country uniting behind England ahead of the Euro 2022 semi-final next week. Stanway scored the winning goal in England’s quarter-final win over Spain on Wednesday night, a moment she described as “the greatest of her career”, and revealed that members of the men’s team who reached the final of the European Championship last summer have been in touch to offer support and advice.

According to figures released by the BBC, England’s thrilling comeback against pre-tournament favorites Brighton was watched by 9.1 million viewers, 7.6 million of whom watched the live coverage on BBC One. and 1.5 million on the Internet.

Tuesday’s semi-final against Sweden or Belgium could well break the TV audience record for women’s football, set when 11.7 million people watched England’s semi-final loss to the United States. United at the 2019 World Cup. Nor was it a purely English phenomenon: in Spain, nearly five million viewers watched the match on the country’s main free-to-air channel, La 1, making it the most-watched program in Spain that day.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that next week’s semi-final will be shown on the big screen in Trafalgar Square. According to Stanway, who was one of the England players in the tournament, the renewed interest in the team’s progress through Euro 2022 has not gone unnoticed within the squad. “It’s quite surreal,” said the player, who recently joined Bayern Munich from Manchester City. “But we want as many people as possible on our journey, as many people watching us, supporting us, believing in us.”

A major difference between this campaign and previous tournament campaigns in England has been the active and vocal support of their male counterparts, with whom the women’s team has developed a close bond by sharing facilities at St George’s Park. Harry Maguire and Declan Rice tweeted their congratulations after the game against Spain, and Stanway said Rice was one of the players who sent advice to the team on how to negotiate expectations of playing a major tournament home.

“We just got some messages from Declan Rice and the guys who were involved last year. [at Euro 2020]she says. “They give us advice on the momentum, to keep it going. Just support us, want us to the end, say they’re coming to the next game. We are definitely a united nation.

England's Ella Toone equalizes against Spain.
England’s Ella Toone, pictured equalizing against Spain, says her side’s strength beyond the starting line-up is a major asset. Photography: Stephanie Meek/CameraSport/Getty Images

Ella Toone, who scored the equalizer against Spain six minutes from time, stressed the importance of the home crowd and vowed England would put on another show in the semi-finals. “Every game we’ve played, the atmosphere has been amazing,” she said. “We are very grateful to the supporters who support us, whether they are in the stadium or at home, and we want to continue to make them proud. I hope we can see everyone’s beers flying, enjoying the game . »

For all of this, England players will be keen to stay focused ahead of what for many will be the biggest game of their lives. England may have won on Wednesday night, but it was far from faultless, with Spain dominating possession for much of the game and the English front four struggling to make an impression.

For their head coach, Sarina Wiegman, who has named the same XI in all four England games in the tournament, there will be pressure to make changes for the semi-final, with Alex Greenwood and Alessia Russo challenging Rachel Daly and Ellen White at left-back and centre-forward respectively. But Toone, a second-half substitute against Spain, insisted England’s bench strength was a major asset. “It’s about the 23 players, we said that from the start,” she said. “The substitutes know their role when they come on, and in every game we have changed the game in a positive way.”

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