Boris Johnson has hailed the “incredible talent” of the England women’s football team ahead of their Euro showdown with Germany on Sunday.
In an open letter to the Lionesses, who will face the eight-time champions in front of a potentially record-breaking crowd at Wembley, the outgoing PM wished them luck in their first major final since a 6-2 loss to Germany in the Euros. 2009.
Johnson tweeted images of English flags in Downing Street and said in the letter that the team had inspired girls and women across the country to “know beyond a shadow of a doubt that football is not reserved for boys.
He wrote: “Your passion for the game, your tenacity in the tough spots and above all your amazing skill on the pitch have already created a summer of fantastic memories for millions of us.
“You can see it in the sold-out stadiums, in the crowded fan zones, in the young children dancing madly to Sweet Caroline and the viewers who saw the records crumble almost as completely as Sweden’s defense in the semi-finals. .”
He added: “In all pride it is the lionesses who hunt ruthlessly as a team and take home their prize, and I am sure that will be the case against Germany.”
But, he said, regardless of Sunday night’s score, he hopes they will be proud of the message they sent to girls and women that “this really is for everyone”.
“It all depends on you and what you have already achieved,” he added. “And so, when the referee’s whistle blows tonight, I hope you will be as proud of yourselves as England are of you.”
Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, also praised the team saying “It’s coming home!”
He said the Lionesses inspired his own daughter. “As a parent I know how vital it is to see strong and successful role models in sport. What you and your team have achieved this summer will not only be celebrated as a great moment for English football, but as a moment that encouraged and inspired young women like my own daughter,” he said.
Starmer was at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane stadium for England’s triumphant 4-0 semi-final win over Sweden on Tuesday, an experience he says will “live long in the memory”.
Of the 27 encounters between Germany and England, Germany have won 21. But England fans can take comfort in the fact that in one match earlier this year, the Lionesses were victorious.
It comes just over a year after the England men finished runners-up in the Euro 2020 final, also at Wembley, when they lost to Italy on penalties.