England women celebrated their 50th anniversary in their first game back at Wembley since they won the Euros – and beat the world champions 2-1.
The Lionesses’ friendly against the world champions the USA was chosen to celebrate 50 years since the England women’s team formation, and the players more than lived up to the occasion.
Taking on the world’s no.1 ranked side who are reigning World Cup winners, goals from Lauren Hemp and Georgia Stanway extended manager Sarina Wiegman’s unbeaten run since taking over the side to 23 games.
With the original England women’s team in attendance and honoured pre-match, the lack of weight of expectation didn’t dampen the party atmosphere inside the stadium.
It was November 1972 when the Lionesses played their first international game against Scotland, and those players from that original team were invited to England’s training this week.
And they were given their moment in the spotlight as 76,893 fans piled into a sold-out Wembley to watch the Lionesses for the first since they lifted the European Championship trophy.
The 1972 squad formed a guard of honour for the current crop of England women as the USA as they came out to an electric light show and atmosphere.
The former Lionesses were also given caps for their appearances and received a standing ovation from the crowd, before forming the Lionesses’ squad photo, and also doing a lap of honour at half-time.
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Back in 1972, one year after the FA lifted the ban which forbade women playing on the grounds of affiliated clubs, it would’ve been hard to imagine an occasion like Friday’s nights for women’s football.
Wembley way was decorated with the faces of the Euro winning side from the summer – a sight that the trailblazers that faced Scotland all those years ago couldn’t have imagined would be a reality.
And the European Championship trophy standing in pride in place on a pitch shared by the squad that represented England 50 years ago shows how far the women’s game has come.
Now, the Lionesses are playing in front of sell-out crowds, with tickets for Friday’s match selling out less than 24 hours after going on sale – showing the momentum the success in the summer is continuing.
- Lionesses celebrate 50-year anniversary of the England women’s team by downing world champions USA in front of sell-out Wembley crowd to extend Sarina Wiegman’s incredible 23-game unbeaten run
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