Georgia Stanway: It’s not women’s football and men’s football now – it’s just football


Georgia Stanway believes it’s time to “stop talking about how big women’s football is going to be and start talking about how big it is” as England prepare for Sunday’s Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium prepared against Germany.

The tournament’s hosts played in front of a competition-record crowd of 68,871 as they opened their season with a 1-0 win over Austria at Old Trafford, and this weekend’s final at the National Stadium is a sell-out.

BBC One coverage of Tuesday’s 4-0 semi-final win over Sweden at Bramall Lane reached a peak TV audience of over nine million as lionesses fever gripped the nation.

England have reached the final of Euro 2022 (Danny Lawson/PA)

(PA wire)

Midfielder Stanway said when asked about the spectators: “It’s a good thing I can’t see any of them, either on screen or in the stands! My eyes are on the ball.

“But I think that’s where we are now. I think we need to stop talking about how big women’s football is going to be and talk about how big it is. We just reach new levels every time.

“I think on Sunday (the fans) will play a big part in being our 12th wife.”

She added: “I feel like if we can inspire one person then we’ve done our job – while here we have thousands.

“The number of kids who are going to be at the game on Sunday is huge, the number of people wearing England shirts – and it’s no longer necessarily male player names on the back, it’s female players. And I think that’s the step we’re taking, that it’s not about women’s and men’s football, it’s about football in general.

(PA graphic)

(PA graphic)

“We are here to inspire, but we are also here to get work done – and for us, getting work done helps the future.”

Victory against the eight-time winners on Sunday will see the Lionesses – who are in their third EURO final since a 6-2 defeat by Germany in 2009 – lift their first major trophy in their history.

The game comes a year after England’s final defeat by Italy on penalties at Wembley Stadium.

And Stanway said: “A whole bunch of English men got in touch and just wished us well and asked if they could have a ticket – ‘Sorry guys we’re all sold out!’

“They were with us, just giving us all the information they could get … and just making sure that maybe we could do better.”

Stanway was also asked about the likes of David Beckham and Lewis Hamilton posting supportive messages on social media, saying: “When you’re playing you don’t realize who’s watching.

“It’s only after that when you go on social media and you have huge names saying they’re enjoying the game, or ‘good goal, good tackle’… you realize how big it is.

“I think even if you look at the royal family they say they watch every game, I think it’s crazy.

“You kind of forget that everyone has a TV and not everyone is doing something that night. I find it odd that people actually find the time to just walk out and say, “Right, lionesses are running tonight, get everyone around the TV.”

“I think that’s so important. Last year we brought the nation together with the men and I feel like we’re doing exactly the same thing now.”

Stanway also spoke about a message from boss Sarina Wiegman, saying, “I think the biggest thing Sarina said to us at the beginning was ‘Game for the little girl who wanted to be in our shoes.’

“So play for the little girl who put in all the work in the beginning, went to training, loved it, dreamed of being in our position – play for her.”

Stanway – who left Manchester City for Bayern Munich earlier in the summer and says she’s been in contact with some German players during the Euros – has started all five of England’s games.

She has impressed, not least with her stunning goal that sealed a 2-1 extra-time win over Spain in the semi-finals.

When asked if there was a moment when Wiegman told her she was going to compete in the tournament, the 23-year-old said: “To be perfectly honest, there was a moment when I was told that I am not.

“And then I don’t really know which moment changed the situation, but of course I’m lucky with that. I really don’t know what changed her mind.” Georgia Stanway: It’s not women’s football and men’s football now – it’s just football

Fry Electronics Team

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