Dancing Queens: Abba’s Party Raises the Roof as Lionesses Celebrate

The side roared into the European Championships final on Tuesday night as they destroyed Sweden 4-0 in front of a thundering crowd at Sheffield’s Bramall Lane with goals including Alessia Russo’s superb backheel.

Russo, who made a name for herself in this tournament as a super substitute for scoring late goals, said the side celebrated the victory in the “usual” way with “a bit of chanting” – including aptly song titles of Swedish pop legends Abba.

Russo said: “It was a bit of Abba – there’s always Abba – but also Proud, West Virginia, some old songs.

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“What a feeling, that’s what it’s all about, that’s what we’ve worked so hard for and now it’s time to go out there and put on a performance.”

The match is expected to be one of the most-watched women’s football matches in British television history.

Tuesday night’s viewing figures are expected to be higher than the 9 million who watched the 2-1 quarter-final win over Spain last week, with even more people set to tune in for the final on Sunday.

The highest television audience for women’s football in the UK was 11.7 million for England’s 2019 World Cup semi-final defeat to the United States.

The 2022 final already boasts the highest turnout for a Women’s Euro, after the 240,055 mark set in the 2017 final in the Netherlands was surpassed in the group stage.

Among the fans celebrating on Tuesday night was Prince William who tuned in after the final whistle to send his “congratulations” to the team. He said: “The whole country is so proud of everything you do. We believe in you and will be with you all the way! William and Kate are expected to be among the crowd for the finale. It is hoped that their two eldest children, George and Charlotte, will also be present.

The Prince met the team ahead of the tournament during a visit to the FA’s St George’s Park training complex, telling the players: “Charlotte wants me to tell you she’s really good at goal. .a budding star for the future.”

Writing on his Instagram Story after the win, David Beckham said: “What a night, congratulations girls.” He also shared his “favorite photo from a special night out” which showed lioness Rachel Daly dancing in an English cowboy hat in the field.

In a pre-match video message, he thanked them for inspiring his daughter Harper and said their performances were “so uplifting”.

England’s current male strikers Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford also showed their support for the Lionesses on Twitter. Kane wrote, “Yesss @Lionesses! Bring on the finale,” while Rashford added applause emojis.

BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker commented: “Fabulous performance and win for @Lionesses. Terrific.”

Wednesday night’s game between France and Germany will decide who will face England in the final on Sunday, which will see a bigger fan zone set up in Trafalgar Square. Free access will be offered to 7,000 fans, 2,000 more than the semi-final’s screening capacity.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the atmosphere on Wednesday night was “electric”, adding: “I’m so excited to bring Londoners and visitors together again in Trafalgar Square this Sunday to help cheer on the Lionesses to victory.”

Fans gather for England v Sweden in Trafalgar Square

/ Reuters

Among the fans celebrating in Trafalgar Square after the final whistle was 24-year-old Londoner Sam Duce, who said: “It was great to see some long overdue support for the women’s team.”

Claudia Bruce, 24, from Leicester said the victory was “huge”, adding that “women’s football has never been more supported”.

Mark Cording, 37, from Edgware, north London, said their semi-final win was “absolutely fantastic”, adding: “It’s a dream come true to see the girls qualify for the final. “

Tickets for the Trafalgar Square screening will be free but available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The final will start at 5 p.m. but the fan zone will be open to the public from 11 a.m. the same day.

Anyone wishing to attend the screening must express their interest by visiting london.gov.uk/womenseuro2022 before 5 p.m. on Friday.


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