IInterest in women’s football exploded during Euro 2022, with consistently high viewing figures. England’s semi-final against Sweden was one of the most watched TV shows of the year, attracting a peak audience of 9.3 million viewers on BBC One.
Five fans talk about what drew them to the tournament this year and their favorite moments from matches so far.
“I looked at my daughter’s face and she was so excited”
Traveled to Brighton last week for the England v Spain quarter final with a friend and our 12 year old daughters. We arrived about 15 minutes before kick off and the atmosphere was amazing. This continued throughout the match, even after Spain took the lead.
My highlight was when Georgia Stanway scored the winning goal and the crowd stood as one in appreciation. I remember looking at my daughter’s face and she was so excited. It was as if that ball was destined for the back of the net and the crowd had just burst. It was wonderful.
My daughter is an avid player, so we spend a lot of time together at her weekend games. The game we watched gave him an increased enthusiasm for the game. Coming out of the dirt there was talk of going to WSL [Women’s Super League] games together next season.
I’ve been a lifelong Leicester City supporter and love watching football, but it’s not something I wanted to take my own family to very often due to the nature of the crowds at men’s games. So this heightened awareness of the women’s game is fantastic for me and my family.
Rob Crowther, 55, school principal, Surrey
My favorite moment was when the players came into the corner after the goal. They were so close to us and it felt like we were celebrating with them. It was great to see such good players and it makes me want to try to be as good as them.
rob’s daughter Mid
“I was crazy about football when I was a teenager, but I was not allowed to play”
I was very impressed with the level of women’s football. Super skills, fitness, tactics and passing. I really enjoyed watching football without the hypoglycemia and aggression of the Premier League. It’s so refreshing and joyful, a pleasure to watch.
As a teenager, I was crazy about football, it was my obsession. But I was in high school in the late 60s and early 70s, and you just couldn’t do it. I remember in 8th grade I was trying to get a girl’s soccer team together to play lunchtime. There were a few people who were interested and we were called to the deputy director who said there was no way girls could play football at this school, so forget it.
It was quite interesting when women’s football started to take off, and now it’s really picked up steam and I really hope it continues. I think it will inspire enthusiasm and also give people a role model. I hope many more girls get on the field and have fun.
Kathryn Streetfield, 67, North Yorkshire, retired
“My boys were cheering every goal”
The joy of those euros has been watching games with my three sons – my twins are eight and my eldest is 12 – and their friends. They loved every game against England, and the 8-0 game against Norway in particular. My three boys were cheering every goal, going completely nuts and saying, we don’t care if it’s men or women playing football, we just care if it’s football, it’s England, and we just want to win.
This is the generation where same-sex marriage is normal, women playing football is normal – it’s really emotional for me to watch these things, and they don’t understand it. And that’s okay – they can just enjoy it, that’s the point of getting here. When I was at school, a teacher made fun of me because I wanted to play football with the boys.
As a mother of sons, I almost feel like watching the Euro with them is more important than if I had a daughter. It is just as important that men get involved in women’s football as women.
Sonya Dunn, West Sussex, 42, stay-at-home mom
“It gave me a lot of pride in England”
I felt very inspired by the Euros and interestingly it gave me a lot of pride in England – the team and the country. Although I was born in Birmingham, my family is from Ireland and I never identify as English. I have nothing to tell that I like, except Wallace and Gromit. But seeing the grace and success of the Lionesses changed something.
Before this year, I had never seen an international match in person. I went to Sheffield to see Netherlands v Sweden and Leigh for Netherlands v Portugal, Sweden v Portugal. I don’t know how it is in big matches, but they were so well organised. There were so many stewards around and you just felt like you were in a really supportive environment.
Another thing I noticed this year is the commentary. It’s more equal to men’s comment now. He seems to be more serious and focused.
Probably the best moment so far was watching Beth Mead score her hat-trick against Norway. It’s amazing the way England played. It was magical how gracefully they scored those goals. And to get that 8-0 result. I was watching in a pub in Sheffield and laughing. I could not believe it.
Unfortunately I had a chest infection last week but if I am well enough I would love to see the final in the Manchester city center fan zone or one of the pubs. Otherwise, I’m quite happy at home. I have a poster on the window and a small euro flag. So it could be me and the cat, Frank. It’s gonna be amazing.
Mary Collins, 54, Manchester
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