LIONESSES FILLED US WITH PRIDE
England’s women RYAN FERGUSON reflects on how in the World Cup captured the public’s imagination
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-