England captain Leah Williamson called Sunday’s Euro 2022 final against Germany a “fairytale event” which she believes is “not the end of the road, but the beginning”.
he revealed that the football rivalry between the two countries continues when tickets were sold out at Wembley Stadium.
The Lionesses are looking to secure the first major silver medal in their history, and Germany, the tournament’s most successful side, is aiming for a ninth Euro title.
Williamson said at a press conference, “I think it’s a good story for you guys. Obviously, this is a fabulous device with a story behind it.
“I think that the path that we both went, you have two teams that have had the best tournaments in the final, and this is the best.
“I think that’s what we expected to face a team that plays their best football and luckily we play ours.”
Williamson then spoke in broad terms when asked about the scope of what victory on Sunday would mean for England.
I think that for every success we make and for every change in judgment or perception… I think it results in a change in society.Leah Williamson
The Arsenal defender said: “I think what we’ve already seen in the tournament is that it was a change not only for women’s football but for society as a whole, the way we are looked at and I think that tomorrow is not the end. path, but only the beginning of one.
“Of course my job is to play and win for 90 minutes, but I think that looking back at this tournament as a whole, we really started something and, as I said, I think that it will start tomorrow. I want this to be the beginning, I want this to be a sign for the future.”
She added: “I have only ever worked in this job, in football, but I think in most jobs around the world, women have yet to face a few battles and try to overcome them.
“And I think that every success we have and every shift in judgment or perception or eye opening to someone who sees a woman as someone who has the potential to be the equal of her male counterpart, I think it leads to changes in society.
“I think it’s a powerful message. In a typically male-dominated environment, these steps we are taking could affect everyone on a larger scale.”
A record attendance for any Euro match, women’s or men’s, could be set tomorrow, and Williamson said: “I think it seemed out of reach for a very long time. The people who came before me had to fight.
“I think tomorrow will be a good moment to reflect that there will be so many people in the stadium interested in women’s football who will have the opportunity to watch it because it was available, because not so long ago it was not a case.”
Ten years ago, 70,000 spectators gathered at Wembley Stadium to watch the British women’s team beat Brazil at the London Olympics.
Williamson, who attended the match as a fan, said: “I think there will be another moment like this tomorrow. It’s unbelievable what happened and I think the fall after that, hopefully that’s not what’s going to happen after this tournament.
“We can’t have a lack of interest after this tournament because it defeats the purpose of everything we’ve achieved in the past six weeks.”