Dancing queens: Abba party raises the roof as Lionesses celebrate

·4-min read
The England women’s team celebrate beating Sweden in the Euro 2022 semi-final  (The FA via Getty Images)
The England women’s team celebrate beating Sweden in the Euro 2022 semi-final (The FA via Getty Images)

England’s victorious Lionesses celebrated their semi-final win over Sweden with an ABBA singalong.

The team roared into the final of the European Championships on Tuesday night destroying Sweden 4-0 in front of a bumper crowd at Sheffield’s Bramall Lane with goals including Alessia Russo’s stunning backheel.

Russo, who has made her name in this tournament as a super sub coming on to score late goals, said the team celebrated the win in the “usual” manner with “a little singalong” — fittingly including some songs by Swedish pop legends Abba.

Russo said: “It was a little bit of Abba — there’s always Abba — but also Proud, West Virginia, a couple of old songs.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“What a feeling, it’s what it’s all about, it’s what we’ve worked so hard for and now it’s time to go out there and put on a performance.”

The game is set to be one of the most watched women’s football matches in UK television history.

Tuesday night’s viewing figures were predicted to be higher than the 9 million who watched the 2-1 quarter-final victory against Spain last week, with even more people set to tune in for the final on Sunday.

The highest television audience for women’s football in the UK was 11.7 million for England’s 2019 World Cup semi-final defeat by the United States.

The 2022 finals already boast the highest attendance figures for a Women’s Euros, after the 240,055 mark set at the 2017 finals in the Netherlands was passed in the group stages.

In Pictures | Women’s Euro 2022 (Semi-Final): England vs Sweden - Lionesses celebrate victory

England’s Ellen White, Hannah Hampton celebrate and teammates celebrate (REUTERS)
England’s Ellen White, Hannah Hampton celebrate and teammates celebrate (REUTERS)
Ella Toone and Rachel Daly of England celebrate (The FA via Getty Images)
Ella Toone and Rachel Daly of England celebrate (The FA via Getty Images)
England’s Beth Mead, left, celebrates after scoring her side’s first goal (AP)
England’s Beth Mead, left, celebrates after scoring her side’s first goal (AP)
England’s midfielder Fran Kirby celebrates after scoring her team fourth goal (AFP via Getty Images)
England’s midfielder Fran Kirby celebrates after scoring her team fourth goal (AFP via Getty Images)
Lucy Bronze of England celebrates scoring their side’s second goal (Getty Images)
Lucy Bronze of England celebrates scoring their side’s second goal (Getty Images)
Alessia Russo of England scores  a sublime back heel third goal whilst under pressure from Caroline Seger and Jonna Andersson of Sweden (Getty Images)
Alessia Russo of England scores a sublime back heel third goal whilst under pressure from Caroline Seger and Jonna Andersson of Sweden (Getty Images)
Alessia Russo of England celebrates scoring their side’s third goal (Getty Images)
Alessia Russo of England celebrates scoring their side’s third goal (Getty Images)
England’s coach Sarina Wiegman celebrates with England’s midfielder Jill Scott (AFP via Getty Images)
England’s coach Sarina Wiegman celebrates with England’s midfielder Jill Scott (AFP via Getty Images)
England players celebrate in the dressing room after their sides victory (The FA via Getty Images)
England players celebrate in the dressing room after their sides victory (The FA via Getty Images)
England’s Leah Williamson, left, and Ellen White celebrate (AP)
England’s Leah Williamson, left, and Ellen White celebrate (AP)
The England team form a huddle following victory (The FA via Getty Images)
The England team form a huddle following victory (The FA via Getty Images)

Among the fans celebrating on Tuesday night was Prince William who went online after the final whistle to send his “congratulations” to the team. He said: “The entire country is so proud of everything you’re achieving. We believe in you and will be with you all the way!” William and Kate are expected to be among the crowd for the final. It is hoped their two eldest children, George and Charlotte, will also attend.

The prince met the team before the tournament during a visit to the FA’s St George’s Park training complex, telling the players: “Charlotte wants me to tell you she’s really good in goal… a budding star for the future.”

Writing on his Instagram story following the win, David Beckham said: “What a night, congratulations to the girls.” He also shared his “favourite picture on a special night” which showed Lioness Rachel Daly dancing in an England cowboy hat on the pitch.

In a video message before the game, he thanked them for inspiring his daughter Harper and said their performances had been “so uplifting”.

Current England men’s forwards Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford also showed their support for the Lionesses on Twitter. Kane wrote: “Yesss @Lionesses! Bring on the final”, while Rashford added applause emojis.

BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker commented: “Fabulous performance and win for @Lionesses. Wonderful.”

Wednesday night’s game between France and Germany will decide who England face in the final on Sunday, which will see a bigger fan zone set up in Trafalgar Square. Free access will be provided for 7,000 fans, 2,000 more than the semi-final’s screening capacity.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said the atmosphere on Wednesday night was “electric”, adding: “I’m so excited to once again bring Londoners and visitors together at Trafalgar Square this Sunday to help cheer the Lionesses to victory.”

Fans gather for England v Sweden in Trafalgar Square (REUTERS)
Fans gather for England v Sweden in Trafalgar Square (REUTERS)

Among the fans celebrating in Trafalgar Square after the final whistle was 24-year-old Londoner Sam Duce who said: “It was great to see some long overdue support for the women’s team.”

Claudia Bruce, 24, from Leicester, said the victory was “huge”, adding “women’s football has never been more supported”.

Mark Cording, 37, from Edgware, north London, said their semi-final victory was “absolutely fantastic”, adding: “It’s a dream come true to see the girls get through to the final.”

Tickets for the Trafalgar Square screening will be free but available on a first-come first-served basis.

The final kicks off at 5pm but the fan zone will be open to the public from 11am on the day.

Anyone wishing to attend the screening should register their interest by visiting london.gov.uk/womens euro2022 by 5pm on Friday.