LIONESSES FILLED US WITH PRIDE

Eng­land’s women RYAN FER­GU­SON re­flects on how in the World Cup cap­tured the public’s imag­i­na­tion

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - WOMEN’S WORLD CUP -

IN THE af­ter­math of Eng­land’s in­spi­ra­tional vic­tory in the Women’s World Cup quar­ter-fi­nal, goalscor­ing hero Jodie Tay­lor could scarcely con­trol her emo­tions. “To start a game, score a goal and help make history with Eng­land has been my goal for four or five years,” she said, tears of joy and re­lief rolling down her face. “It’s just amaz­ing.”

In­deed, it was amaz­ing. It was the great­est ac­com­plish­ment in the an­nals of English women’s football.

By beat­ing Canada, the su­perb host na­tion, be­fore 54,027 in Van­cou­ver, the Lionesses be­came the first Eng­land team at any level to reach a ma­jor semi­fi­nal since 1990, when Bobby Rob­son’s men lost to West Ger­many on penal­ties.

Ac­cord­ingly, when watch­ing this fresh and vi­brant women’s team, so like­able and en­ter­tain­ing, one could sense history in the mak­ing. Pos­i­tive history. The kind of history that had an en­tire na­tion talk­ing in fer­vent tones of op­ti­mism.

Tay­lor’s raw pas­sion was char­ac­ter­is­tic of an en­tire squad de­ter­mined to earn a place in the pan­theon of English foot­balling glory. Merely don­ning that white shirt and play­ing for Eng­land meant the world to these girls.

It was the pin­na­cle of their sport­ing lives; a dream played out in un­be­liev­able re­al­ity. Each player had an un­quench­able thirst to rep­re­sent their na­tion, un­sul­lied by money or celebrity, which was an ab­so­lute plea­sure to watch. To­gether, they played with so much fight, so much pas­sion and so much heart that it was im­pos­si­ble not to be deeply ex­cited.

The key word there is to­gether, be­cause this team had more to­geth­er­ness than any I’ve seen in a very long time, in­clud­ing the men’s game.

When watch­ing their matches, one could see the cast-iron belief, the ab­so­lute con­vic-

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