England fans across the country have gone wild after the Lionesses have become the first women’s team to reach the World Cup Final after a stunning 3-1 victory over Australia.
Thousands of fans across the UK took time off work to watch the game, with many singing, dancing and slamming tables at fan parks.
In London, deafening cheers acompanied goals from Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo as hundreds of spectators began singing Sweet Caroline and chanting ‘It’s Coming Home.’
Relive the action by reading Metro’s live coverage of the game here:
At the Wembley box park, the day started with some playful taunting between England fans and a smattering of Aussie supporters, but things quickly heated up once Ella Toone opened the scoring with a spectacular opening goal to put England in the lead.
However, things quickly became tense in the second half when Australia’s Sam Kerr managed to claw one back with a powerful strike from outside the box to bring the score level and drag the Matildas back into the game.
But any worries were soon dispelled when Lauren Hemp made it 2-1 to England in the 70th minute, with Alessia Russo sealing the deal with a third goal minutes before the final whistle to book the Lionesses place in the final.
Hayley Chapel, 18, travelled to Wembley from East Suffolk to watch the game, and said the experience was ‘intense but absolutely amazing’ and said the atmosphere at the box park was ‘the best I’ve seen throughout the whole tournament.’
She was joined by fellow England fan Zoe Marchant, 41, who had travelled from Hastings to watch the game.
‘It was amazing!’ she told Metro. ‘We knew it was going to be tight, we knew it was going to be difficult, but they shone through.
‘We’ve been waiting all tournament for this sort of performance and they came through- Let’s hope they can do it again in the final. Come on England!’
Zoe said the atmosphere at the fan zone was ‘incredible’: ‘Just so many people all in that place for the right reasons, here to back the team. You;ve got the Australian fans as well- doesn’t matter, we’re all football fans, just enjoy it. Amazing.’
She added that the final on Sunday was going to be tough,’ but England are going to do it.’
Emily Bowen, 15, who had painted St George’s flag on her face using red glitter, watched England’s semi final win at Boxpark Croydon in south London.
Emily, from Kent, said: ‘I was actually ecstatic when the full-time whistle went. The click of reality, we’re through to a World Cup final.
‘After Australia equalised it was a bit nervy, they were going to come back but (The Lionesses) stayed strong… I’m buzzing.
‘We went out to France for the 2019 World Cup and then all of the Euros games last year we were at. I try to follow them everywhere and anywhere.’
When asked how she will react if England win the World Cup, Emily added: ‘I honestly don’t know. Just seeing the growth from when they won the Euros, to see that carry on, if they win the World Cup it would be amazing for all upcoming footballers, inspiring all the younger girls.’
Elsewhere, England fan Claire McGettrick, 42, from Birmingham, who watched the Lionesses’ semi-final win from her hotel room in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, said cheering could be heard from other rooms as England ran out 3-1 winners.
She said: ‘(I) heard a lot of cheering from other rooms but other than that everyone else is in the pool oblivious.’
Mrs McGettrick added that she would be ‘heading to the pool going to jump in then have a few drinks in the sun’ to celebrate England reaching the World Cup final, and said she would still be in Egypt for the big game.
‘(I) think we will venture out to the pub for that one,’ she said. ‘I’ll be in Egypt for the final as (it is a) one o’clock showing here and we don’t fly until the night. What a flight home it will be if we win.’
Mischa McDonald, 12, was one of about a dozen young players celebrating the result at England captain Millie Bright’s former club, Killamarsh Dynamos.
She told reporters: ‘It was amazing, so nerve-wracking, but I’d predicted 3-1 before the start.’
On the final, Mischa, who also attends Bright’s former school, said: ‘I know we’ll do it and I think Millie will lift the cup like Leah Williamson did (at the Euros).’
She added that the Lionesses’ success was ‘a really big inspiration’.
Englishman Alex Finlayson, 41, who lives in Australia with his Australian wife, said they watched the World Cup semi-final ‘on opposite ends of the couch’.
Mr Finlayson, who is originally from Redcar in Middlesbrough and now lives in Jimboomba, Queensland, Australia with his wife and two children, said they were both ‘talking to and shouting at the TV for different reasons’ throughout the tense 90-minute semi-final match which saw the Lionesses win 3-1.
Of his wife’s reaction score, Mr Finlayson said: ‘(She) was happy for England to get to their first final but gutted for Australia…especially after Kerr’s epic goal.’
He said that his two children, aged 12 and 14, started to watch the game but they ‘didn’t quite get onboard with mum and dad’s passion’, adding that he and his wife ‘basically spoke to ourselves for 90 minutes…out loud…on opposite ends of the couch’.
Mr Finlayson said he and his family will ‘absolutely’ be watching the World Cup final against Spain on Sunday.
The Prince of Wales tweeted his congratulations to the team after the game.
In the personally signed tweet, William said: ‘What a phenomenal performance from the Lionesses – on to the final!
‘Commiserations to the Matildas, you’ve played brilliantly and been fantastic co-hosts of this World Cup.’
Former England striker Gary Lineker added his congratulations, tweeting: ‘Well played Lionesses. Absolutely superb performance.
‘A World Cup final. A World Cup final at football. It’s been a while. What a wonderful achievement.’
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak added his thoughts on the game, tweeting: ‘What a performance Lionesses.
‘Just one more game to go… Bring on Sunday.’
The Welsh Guards Band performed one of England’s footballing anthems Sweet Caroline during Wednesday’s Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace after the win.
The final kicks off at 8pm local time.
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