Euro 2022 final: Prince William and Princess Charlotte cheer on Lionesses as team arrives at Wembley

·5-min read

England's Lionesses have arrived at Wembley and begun their warm-up preparations as they look to make football history when they take on Germany in the Euro 2022 final.

The countdown continues towards 5pm, when the home side could land their first major trophy. The team are underdogs - Germany have won the title eight times, as well as 21 of the 27 meetings between the two teams.

But England did triumph the last time the teams played each other in February - and since Sarina Wiegman took over as coach in September, they have played 19 games and won 17 of them.

England have kept their team line-up unchanged from previous matches.

"Some fans have been waiting three hours for this moment. There's a lady here who is about to cry because she's so emotional. Here comes the bus," said Sky Sports' Gail Davis.

"What a moment this is. Sarina Weigman has spoken about blocking out this noise, but it's almost impossible to do that.

"Just look at the scenes. It's spine-tingling."

Princess Charlotte cheers on Lionesses

Celebrities and British royalty have been among those wishing the team well ahead of tonight's final.

In a video posted online Prince William said: "We both want to wish the Lionesses the best of luck tonight. You've done amazingly well in the competition and we're rooting for you all the way."

He was accompanied by his seven-year-old daughter, Princess Charlotte, who added: "Good luck. I hope you win!"

A Royal Air Force flypast led by an all-female crew will take to the skies to cheer on the team ahead of this evening's match.

A C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, crewed by three women, and flanked by two Typhoon fighter jets, will soar over Wembley Stadium.

Flt Lt Lauren, who helped train the first female Afghan pilots when she was deployed in Afghanistan, has said watching the England team has been "inspiring".

"I've flown missions all over the world with the RAF, but this will be one of the most memorable," she said.

"It's been inspiring to watch the Lionesses progress and I will be loudly cheering them on as soon as I land back at RAF Brize Norton."

'We don't fear anyone' say Lionesses

Speaking late last night, coach Wiegman said that - despite the pressure - there is a sense of calm within her squad. She added: "When you reach a final, then you're one of the best teams in the tournament. I think we have a very good team too, and we don't fear anyone.

"I think it has been really calm around the team - I think that worked really well. So we just went back to the hotel where we are staying and did the training sessions again, did recovery there and the things we have to do to get prepared."

Asked if the women could win and make up for the men's team's Euros defeat at the hands of Italy in the final last year, she said: "I don't think we should compare men and women - it's just one England.

"I don't think there is any difference."

England's men have never won a European football championship and their last major tournament victory was the World Cup in 1966.

Regarding the German women's team, Wiegman said: "I think at some point it might be a little physical - Germany can play very direct, physical and straightforward. That's what we expect."

Record crowd expected

Around 90,000 fans are expected at Wembley this evening - a record for a Euros final.

The previous record was set in 1964 at the men's final as 79,115 fans watched Spain host the Soviet Union.

Last year's men's final between England and Italy at Wembley was watched by 67,000, although that crowd was smaller due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more:
How Sarina Wiegman's ruthless European style has changed England's fortunes
Lionesses ready for 'fairytale' final against Germany, says captain Leah Williamson
How England's Lionesses found the perfect blend to reach Sunday's final

'A summer of fantastic memories'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written a letter to the England team, wishing them the best of luck.

He told them: "Your passion for the game, your tenacity in tricky spots, and above all your astounding talent on the pitch have already created a summer of fantastic memories for millions of us.

"You can see it in the sold-out stadia, in the packed fan zones, in the small children dancing wildly to Sweet Caroline and the TV viewing figures that have seen records crumbling almost as comprehensively as Sweden's defence did in the semi-final."

And Mr Johnson wrote that - no matter the outcome - "the pitches and playgrounds and parks of this country will be filled as never before with girls and women who know beyond any shadow of a doubt that football is not just for boys, it really is for everyone".

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said to the players: "As a parent, I know how vital it is to see strong, successful role models in sport.

"What you and your team have accomplished this summer will not just be celebrated as a great moment for English football but as one that encouraged and inspired young women like my own daughter."

Sir Keir attended the Lionesses' semi-final victory over Sweden on Tuesday and said it would "live long in the memory".

He added: "It's coming home!"

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