England ready for BIGGEST ever game vs Germany as skipper Williamson hopes brilliant Euro 2022 is ‘start of something’


ON the eve of the biggest match of her life, it was put to Leah Williamson that the last England captain to win a major trophy is commemorated with a statue outside Wembley Stadium.

But even the late, great Bobby Moore only had a football tournament to win when he led England to World Cup glory against the Germans 56 year ago.

Williamson is adamant — and with some justification — that England’s women have also struck a significant blow for gender equality during their joyride to Sunday’s Euros final against Germany.

Arsenal defender Williamson is only 25, the same age as Moore was in 1966,  but she is an impressive leader and communicator.

And while her prime focus is on defeating Germany — the dominant force in European women’s football for decades — she is strident and passionate in her belief the Lionesses have had a major impact on wider society at this breakthrough tournament.

Williamson said: “I think what we’ve seen in the tournament already is that this hasn’t just been a change for women’s football but for society in general — a change in how we are looked upon.

“I think that this Euros final is not just the end of the journey but the beginning of one, regardless of the result of the game, and there will be a nice moment for reflection about that.

“My job is to go out for 90 minutes to play and win.

“But I think that when we look back on this tournament as a whole, we have really started something.

“And I think this match is the start of that, I really want it to be the start of something for the future — not just looking back at what’s come before.

Average attendances in the Women’s Super League have struggled to rise above 1,500   — but there is an expectation that those numbers will be swelled after England’s heroics at the Euros.

But if Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman can today mastermind   victory  against a German side renowned for physicality and directness, it would only add to the profile of the English women’s game still further.

Germany have won eight of the 12 previous women’s Euros and, until Gareth Southgate’s side defeated the old enemy in last summer’s men’s Euros, they held a fear factor for the nation.

But that historic rivalry holds no interest for Williamson .

She said: “It’s a great narrative for you media guys — it’s a fairytale fixture with the history behind it.

“But you’d never expect to win a tournament without playing the best team and I think we are the two best teams in this tournament.

“None of us have been in this position before, to walk out on this stage, but we’ve grown game by game.

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