The England Lionesses may not have won the World Cup in Australia, but are proud to be bringing home respect and a platform of opportunity that their game has been denied for so many years.

The Lionesses were crowned European Champions in 2022 after a fantastic campaign capturing the hearts of the nation, with an incredible extra-time victory against Germany propelling them into the limelight and amassing an army of new fans, of all ages and genders! The ‘hype’ going into the World Cup 2023 is something that women’s football hasn’t seen before, and after an incredibly fought tournament, an England team has made history and reached the final of the World Cup for the first time since 1966.

Group Stages

England went into the World Cup missing key-player and captain, Leah Williamson, who ruptured her ACL in the WSL in April, with Millie Bright being named captain in her absence. The Lionesses won each of their group games heading into the Round of 16, but it wasn’t without challenges. The Lionesses began with a 1-0 win over Haiti, following with another 1-0 win over Denmark, scores which surprised the watching England fans, who expected more from the European Championship winning side. By the last group game, England had gained their momentum and defeated China with an incredible 6-1, finishing top of group D, lining up against Nigeria for the knockout stages.

The Round of 16

Nigeria proved tough opposition for England, with many believing that it would be a comfortable win for the Lionesses. The score was 0-0 at full time, with England unfortunately forced into extra time without the talented Lauren James after she received a red card in the 87th minute. Even with a player down, the score remained 0-0 after 120 minutes and the win would be decided by penalties. England’s Stanway was up first but kicks wide, but the 4 following goals from Kelly, Greenwood, Daly and Beth England confirmed the Lionesses as winners, winning the shoot-out 4-2.

Quarter Finals

Against Colombia, England searched for a performance worthy of their European Championship title, however Colombia broke the deadlock and were up 1-0 in the 44th minute. With 6 minutes of added extra time in the first half, the Lionesses were determined not to go into the break a goal down and Hemp found the back of the net drawing the two teams level before the restart. England finished the game victorious after Russo’s winning strike in the 63rd minute, taking the Lionesses to the semi-final where they would face host country, Australia.


Lining up against the Matildas, the Lionesses were just one win away from reaching their first ever World Cup final, and an extra opportunity for an England team to beat Australia after the hurt from the netball World Cup just a few weeks ago. Sarina Weigman’s side were superior for the duration, with Ella Toone opening the score with a superb goal in the first half. Fighting back, Sam Kerr, arguably one of the best women’s footballers in the world, equalised for Australia in the second half with a shot from range, flying past England’s goalkeeper bringing the score level at 1-1. With neither teams ever reaching a World Cup final in their history, both were fighting hard for their spot, but it was England who converted their grit and determination into goals from Hemp and Russo, sending the Lionesses to the final in Sydney.

England’s World Cup Final

England were slight favourites going into the final, but the Lionesses could not find a way back into the game after Spanish captain, Olga Carmona found a way past Mary Earps, giving them the lead in the first half. England had good changes, notably Lauren Hemp hitting the bar and just missing the chance to take an early lead. As England spent the rest of the match desperately pushing for a goal back, they exposed themselves at the back, and with a few mistakes and Spain’s relentless press, England gave away a penalty after Keira Walsh’s hand ball in the box. Lioness hero, Mary Earps, saved Spain’s penalty with a fantastic stop from the spot, keeping the Lionesses and fans hopes alive. However, England couldn’t find that all-important equaliser and Spain finished the game with a 1-0 lead, earning themselves the title of World Cup Champions.

The Future for Women’s Football

A World Cup winners title for England would have been the cherry-on-top of what has been a fantastic few years for women’s football. But with what these women have achieved for their sport; they are already champions, and the legacy that they have begun needs our continued support to create an unstoppable momentum into the future. The Lionesses have challenged the status quo around gender, and have been unapologetically fierce to ensure that women’s football has the respect, platform and backing it deserves.


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