Captain Leah Williamson described England's Euro 2022 final victory over Germany as "the proudest moment of my life".

A gripping showpiece at Wembley on Sunday saw England scrape a 2-1 victory after extra time, with substitutes Ella Toone and Chloe Kelly getting the goals for the hosts.

Williamson lifted the trophy as a record crowd of 87,192 saluted the first-time champions, who have been steered to glory by Sarina Wiegman, the manager who led the Netherlands to the win the European Championship five years ago.

"I just can't stop crying," said Williamson in a pitchside BBC interview.

"We talk and we talk and we talk, and we finally do it. It's about doing it on the pitch, and I tell you what – the kids are all right!

"It's the proudest moment of my life until the day I have kids I suppose, so I'm going to lap it up.

"I was advised to take in every single second because you're going to want to relive it over and over, and I'll be reliving that for a long time.

"The legacy of this tournament is the change in society. It's everything that we've done. We've brought everybody together. We've got people at games, and we want them to come to WSL [Women's Super League] games, but the legacy of this team is winners and that's the start of a journey.

"I love every single one of them. I'm so proud to be English."

As England celebrated their finest hour, Lionesses legend Alex Scott revealed top clubs in England had refused to allow their stadiums to be used for the European finals, and said any johnny-come-lately sponsorship hopefuls had probably already missed the boat.

Scott and Ian Wright, both working as pundits, spoke of their hopes for how the women's game could continue to grow, with Wright making an impassioned plea for those charmed by the England team over the past four weeks to get out to club games.

And Scott, a member of the England team who lost 6-2 to Germany in the Euro 2009 final, took a swipe at those who in her view had done women's football no favours.

Scott: "Let's remind ourselves that in 2018 we were begging people to host in their stadiums a women's game for this Euros. So many people said no. I hope you're all looking at yourselves right now because you weren't brave enough.

"I'm not standing up at corporate events in front of sponsors any more begging for them to get involved in the women's game, because you know what, if you're not involved you've missed the boat, you've missed the train. Because look at this: it has finally left the station, and it is gathering speed."

Beth Mead was named player of the tournament and won the Golden Boot, pipping Alexandra Popp on an assists tie-breaker after they finished level on six goals. Popp missed the final through injury.

But it was not Mead who was the hero in the final, as England's substitutes stepped up again.

Toone, who lobbed in a brilliant opening goal, is among the young players set to play a huge part in the future of the England side.

The 22-year-old Manchester United forward said of Sunday's success: "It doesn't seem real. I'm absolutely buzzing my head off.

"It's the best moment of my career, the best moment of my life ever. I'm absolutely on top of the world and I'm so proud to do it with these girls."

Pep Guardiola hailed the stylistic brilliance of women's football as England prepare to face Germany in the Euro 2022 final.

The Manchester City boss is recognised as a coach who encourages technical excellence, having been brought up through the Barcelona system and taken the teachings with him.

As head coach of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and latterly City, Guardiola has nurtured teams through innovation, looking for his players to produce a possession-based game.

There has been fluidity and intensity at the core of his teams, and the end result has been the emergence of some of football's most entertaining, highly skilled teams of the modern era.

He recognises excellence when he sees it, and Guardiola believes it is coursing through the women's game at present.

Sunday's final is set to be played in front of a full house at Wembley, with the tournament having already smashed previous European Championship attendance records.

"Well I think they deserve all the credit, women footballers around the world, how they rise, how they are doing incredibly good, so they deserve what they are getting," Guardiola said.

"Before, years ago, there was maybe not the media, maybe it was not being followed like it is, and it has happened because they are doing incredible things in the style, the way they play."

Given his previous Bayern allegiance, Guardiola is reluctant to pick a winner, even though a number of England's squad play for City's women's team, including Ellen White, Lauren Hemp and Keira Walsh.

Germany have won the Women's Euros eight times previously, while England have yet to be champions.

"Before, I was working in Germany, I want the best for both [teams]," said Guardiola, whose City team will face Liverpool in the Community Shield in Leicester on Saturday.

"Of course, we want a good final. England can play a good game, and it's a big success for both national teams to get to the final. Of course both will want to win it, at an incredible scenario at Wembley.

"I think the crowd will be completely full and hopefully they can enjoy a good game and the best team wins. Congratulations. It's so nice for England – arriving at the final is a big achievement."

Manchester City will welcome Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium in the Women's Super League.

The match will take place over the weekend of December 10-11, when the Premier League will be on a mid-season break due to the men's World Cup, taking place in Qatar.

It will be the third time the Etihad has hosted a City women's game, after a 2014 clash with Everton and a derby against United.

That match, in September 2019, was won 1-0 by the hosts and drew a then-WSL record crowd of 31,213 supporters.

The news comes on the back of the success of the Women's European Championship, which has taken place in England throughout July.

England take on Germany in Sunday's final at Wembley Stadium, with UEFA anticipating a record crowd at the ground for a match at the Women's Euros. 

More than twice as many fans have attended this year's tournament than the previous competition in 2017.

England star forwards Beth Mead and Ellen White will be rivals on the opening weekend of the Women's Super League season after Arsenal were handed a testing trip to Manchester City.

Mead hit a hat-trick and White scored twice as England thrashed Norway 8-0 in their second Euro 2022 group match on Monday evening. However, eyes are already turning towards another WSL campaign, which begins on the weekend of September 10-11, as Arsenal and City look to dethrone three-peat champions Chelsea.

As well as Mead, Arsenal have England captain Leah Williamson and Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema among their rich player pool, while White is joined in City's ranks by the likes of England winger Lauren Hemp, former Lionesses skipper Steph Houghton and Jamaica striker Khadija Shaw.

Arsenal finished second in the table last year, a point behind Chelsea, with City third. Chelsea begin their quest for a fourth consecutive title when they host West Ham, while Manchester United travel to Tottenham, Everton host Leicester City, Brighton and Hove Albion welcome Aston Villa, and promoted Liverpool journey to Reading.

The penultimate round on the weekend of May 20-21 could be pivotal in determining the destiny of the title as Chelsea tackle Arsenal and City make the short trip to United for the Manchester derby.

Arsenal finish at home to Aston Villa a week later, City host Everton and Chelsea travel to Reading. Liverpool and Manchester United also go head-to-head on the final weekend.

Kelly Simmons, the Football Association's director of the women's professional game, said: "We really want to capture the momentum generated from the Women's Euros this summer, which will significantly help us take this league to the next level."

England's Ellen White insists she is relishing the pressure of leading the line at the Women's Euro 2022, but she knows she must improve her goalscoring form to keep her place in Sarina Wiegman's team.

White is England's all-time leading goalscorer, netting 50 times in 108 international appearances since her 2010 debut.

She finished as the joint-top goalscorer as England reached the 2019 Women's World Cup final, matching United States duo Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan with six strikes and taking the Bronze Boot, but has struggled on the domestic front recently.

White only netted four goals in 22 WSL appearances for third-placed Manchester City in the 2021-22 season and spurned several decent openings in England's 1-0 win over Austria on Wednesday.

She registered four shots totalling 0.49 expected goals in the Lionesses' Old Trafford opener, both match-high figures, but failed to find the net.

Yet White was bullish when asked whether her lack of goals was affecting her, telling a media conference: "No, I'm excited to be part of this England team.

"We've got some great talent, competition, and I'm loving every minute of playing for this team.

"Ultimately, my job is to score goals, of course. We've got some great wingers in this team and midfielders, backline, everyone. 

"I've got to be in the right place at the right time and hopefully, all the training I've done, [I] will help the team any way I can.

"I think there's always pressure to keep that number nine role. We've got some phenomenal talent, and it's super competitive, and I think that's really healthy, throughout the whole squad really.

"I think that's an amazing part of this team. We have 23 players that are so talented, and every single day in training it's super competitive and pushing each other and wanting each other to do well. I think it's a good headache for Sarina.

"She's super supportive and really helped with movement in and around the box, and the vision – she's been amazing on that front."

England take on Norway at Brighton and Hove Albion's AMEX Stadium on Monday and could clinch a spot in the knockout stages with a win, depending on the result of Northern Ireland's clash with Austria.

Meanwhile, White also offered her take on the team's request to Nike to change the colour of their white shorts due to concerns over players' periods, highlighting the importance of such conversations taking place in public.

"I think it's a really great conversation to have," she said. "We play football, we are on our periods, and definitely there has been feedback with Nike about the kit. 

"Our kit is lovely, but at times, when you are on your period, you do worry a little bit about that.

"It's important we are talking about it and made aware of what we can do to help support women when they are on their periods. It's a great conversation and one we need to continue to have really."

England star Lucy Bronze has called time on her Manchester City career after a second stint with the Women's Super League outfit.

Bronze, who won FIFA's The Best Women's Player Award in 2020, is set for a crucial role with her country when England host the European Championship in July.

The Telegraph reported last week that 30-year-old Bronze has received offers from clubs in the United States and is considering a move to a team on the west coast.

She has been spending time in California this week, according to pictures posted on her Instagram account.

City said in a statement on Thursday: "Manchester City can confirm that defender Lucy Bronze will depart the club at the end of her current contract this summer.

"The defender will bring the curtain down on her second spell at the Academy Stadium and five years altogether in sky blue next month, having made 111 appearances and scored 14 goals."

Bronze has been a league and Women's FA Cup winner with City, but her greatest run of success came in a three-year spell at Lyon, where she helped the French giants land the Champions League three times.

Scotland midfielder Caroline Weir is also leaving City, the club said this week, while versatile forward Georgia Stanway has agreed to join Bayern Munich.

Arsenal's all-time record goalscorer Vivianne Miedema has ended speculation over her future by signing a new deal with the Women's Super League club.

Miedema's previous deal was due to expire next month, and she had been linked with a move to Barcelona or a team in the United States.

However, the Netherlands international – who has scored 117 goals in 144 games since signing for Arsenal from Bayern Munich in 2017 – has agreed to stay on in north London.

The Gunners confirmed the news on their official website on Friday, although no details were given regarding the length of the contract.

"I think the best thing about football is to build something with a team and people around you that you really want to belong to," Miedema said.

"I feel like I have that at Arsenal. I feel that winning titles with Arsenal will mean a lot more to me than winning them with any other club right now.

"And that, of course, is what I hope to achieve with Arsenal."

Miedema is the WSL's record scorer with 74 goals to her name in the competition, and she won the Golden Boot in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns.

The 25-year-old scored 23 goals in 39 appearances across all competitions this season, with Arsenal finishing runners-up to Chelsea in the league.

Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall, who signed a new two-year deal two weeks ago, said: "Viv is a stellar talent and a hugely important player for this team.

"It's fantastic news that she is staying with us. As a club, our ambition is to win titles and compete at the highest level.

"We know Viv's own ambitions are the same, and together we will give everything to achieve that."

Chelsea have been crowned champions of the Women's Super League after beating Manchester United, edging out nearest challengers Arsenal.

Emma Hayes' side went into the final day of the season top of the table, a point ahead of the Gunners and knowing that a win would seal their third consecutive league title.

There were nerves at Kingsmeadow on Sunday after goals from Martha Thomas and Ella Toone either side of Erin Cuthbert's equaliser had given United a 2-1 lead at half-time.

However, two goals from the Football Writers' Association's women's player of the year Sam Kerr and another from Guro Reiten in the second half sealed a 4-2 victory, clinching the title for the Blues.

Kerr's second was an appropriately stunning effort for the occasion, with the Australian lobbing United goalkeeper Mary Earps with a turn and volley from almost 30-yards to make sure of victory.

Arsenal did their bit by winning 2-0 away at West Ham, but it was not enough for Jonas Eidevall and his team.

United's defeat and Manchester City's 4-0 win at Reading also meant the latter finishing third ahead of the Red Devils, sealing the final Women's Champions League spot.

Reggae Girl Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw was one of two Manchester City players who have been shortlisted for April's FA Women’s Super League Player of the Month Award.

Mohamed Salah has been named the men's Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers' Association.

The Egyptian wins the award for the second time in his career after enjoying another fruitful campaign with Liverpool.

Chelsea striker Sam Kerr won the women's award, which for the first time was voted for by the full FWA membership, having previously been decided by a panel of experts.

Salah received 48 per cent of the voting, finishing ahead of Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and West Ham's Declan Rice.

The Liverpool attacker has 44 goal involvements in 44 appearances this season in all competitions (30 goals, 14 assists) as he and his team-mates continue to hunt down what would be an unprecedented quadruple.

Kerr received 40 per cent of votes to beat Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema and Man City's Lauren Hemp, who finished second and third.

The Australian has scored a goal a game in the Women's Super League this season, bagging 18 in 18 for the league leaders, with a further four assists.

Chair of the FWA, Carrie Brown, told the FWA website: "Both Mo and Sam have been outstanding this season, breaking records for both club and country. As well as their performances on the pitch, they are leaders and standard bearers of excellence at their clubs and respective leagues.

"The fact they have won by such convincing margins underlines just how impressive they have been this season which has been recognised by our members."

Both Salah and Kerr will be presented with their awards at a Footballer of the Year dinner on May 5.

England star Georgia Stanway became Manchester City's record scorer at the age of 23 as she came off the bench to hit a hat-trick in an 8-0 Women's FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest.

Stanway, who played for Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics, has played in a wide range of positions during her City career and opened her goals account as a 16-year-old in 2015.

The attack-minded former PFA Women's Young Player of the Year showed her quality after Gareth Taylor introduced her for the second half against third-tier outfit Forest, who staged the visit of the Women's Super League giants at the City Ground.

Stanway's first strike in the 50th minute moved her level with fellow England star Nikita Parris' total of 62 goals for City, before she took the record outright in the 71st minute. Barrow-born Stanway netted again in stoppage time, rounding off the scoring as City strode through to the fifth round.

City boss Taylor said afterwards: "I’m so pleased for her because she's showing real hot form at the moment, and she's been great to work with, particularly her attitude and application to try new positions and affect the play wherever she plays. I'm really delighted for her today."

Emma Hayes' dominant Chelsea team broke a long-standing Premier League record after they scored for a 56th successive Women's Super League game.

Late goals from Pernille Harder and Fran Kirby saw reigning Super League champions Chelsea defeat Leicester City 2-0 on Sunday.

The victory took Chelsea into second place, but also saw them break a record held by Arsenal's men's team.

Between May 2001 and November 2002, Arsene Wenger's side scored in 55 consecutive Premier League games, a tally now overtaken by Chelsea women.

Sam Kerr teed up the second goal of the game for Kirby, with the duo having now combined for 17 goals in the Super League.

It is the joint-most of any pair, alongside Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead. In just 23 league games together Kirby has assisted Kerr 10 times and Kerr has assisted Kirby seven times.

Ellen White rescued Manchester City in a fierce derby as the England striker hit a landmark goal to secure a 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

Staring at a fourth successive defeat in the Women's Super League, City trailed and were down to 10 players after Georgia Stanway's red card.

But White was on hand to slot in her first goal of the season after 79 minutes, when Jess Park's thumping strike was pushed against the crossbar by Mary Earps.

The tap-in means White has now scored against all 17 clubs she has faced in the WSL, netting against more different sides in the league than any other player.

She has previously played for Arsenal, Notts County and Birmingham in the competition, which began in 2011.

This season's WSL title is already probably beyond City, the 2016 champions, and they entered Saturday's derby six points behind United after just four matches of the 22-game campaign. Injuries to the likes of FIFA Best Women's Player winner Lucy Bronze and Steph Houghton have left their ranks depleted, and both were absent again.

Stanway was dismissed after 35 minutes when her dangerously high boot caught Leah Galton high on the thigh in midfield, but City snatched the lead three minutes later when Khadija Shaw headed in a cross from the left by Demi Stokes.

City's run of three defeats was their worst in the WSL, and a fourth was on the cards when Lucy Staniforth's backheeled flick for a 72nd-minute equaliser was followed by Alessia Russo firing hosts United ahead.

At that stage, United were on course for their first win over City in the WSL, having previously managed just one point from three games.

The tussle at Leigh Sports Village had another twist in store though, and White, who had replaced Shaw just before the hour mark, showed her poacher's instinct to tuck away the loose ball after Earps saved from Park.

 

City star Lauren Hemp told the BBC: "The fight and determination throughout the whole game was top drawer. I'm so proud of how we've turned it around this week. It just shows how together the team is and hopefully this will be the turning point.

"We showed the quality this team has and that we deserved to put on a show. That's what you want in Manchester derbies, and we did it justice. I'm so proud of the team."

City boss Gareth Taylor wanted a win but said: "It was a roller coaster and when you're potentially staring at a loss at 2-1 down, I think you have to say reluctantly it's a fair point."

Champions Chelsea fell foul of an early challenge from Arsenal on Sunday in a gripping first glimpse of a potential Women's Super League title battle. 

Chelsea and Arsenal have accounted for seven of the 10 WSL championships to date, including the past four in a row, although the Blues were dominant last term. 

The beaten Champions League finalists entered the match at Emirates Stadium having suffered only one defeat in 43 league games and unbeaten in 39 away from home – a competition record. 

However, Arsenal, whose most recent defeat came against Chelsea in February, landed the first blow in 2021-22 with an impressive 3-2 win. 

Vivianne Miedema netted a record-extending 61st WSL goal to open the scoring, steering inside the near post for her sixth strike on opening weekends. 

Chelsea were level on the stroke of half-time through Erin Cuthbert but trailed again four minutes after the restart as Miedema turned provider for Beth Mead, who raced away and finished in style. 

Mead's eighth WSL goal against Chelsea – all at home – followed, meaning Pernille Harder's fine header proved merely a consolation as the Blues became the third team to lose the first game of a title defence, after Arsenal in 2013 and Liverpool in 2015. 

 

It was a first win in six against Chelsea for Arsenal, but they now have the outright most victories versus the reigning WSL champions (six). 

And the Gunners hope this will not be a one-off, as two-goal Mead told Sky Sports: "We are a team that want to fight for the title, so we won't make it easy for these teams. 

"Hopefully we can continue to do that for the rest of the season." 

She added: "[This win] has been a long time coming. We've had a lot of seasons where we've [fallen] short in these games." 

Manchester United have a realistic chance of breaking into the top three of the Women's Super League this season, despite losing head coach Casey Stoney during the close season. 

That is according to Tottenham defender Kerys Harrop, who told Stats Perform she is expecting the 2021-22 campaign to be the "most exciting yet".

Stoney departed United at the end of last season after steering the club into the top flight and then to successive fourth-placed finishes in the WSL across her three years in charge.

The Red Devils have opted for an experienced replacement, with former Birmingham City and Orlando Pride boss Marc Skinner taking the reins.

United led the way at the top of the division come the end of last year, but hampered by injury issues they slipped down to fourth, one point behind third-placed Arsenal.

United States duo Tobin Heath and Christen Press have departed, while Jessica Sigsworth, Amy Turner, Lauren James and  Abbie McManus have also moved on.

But with Hannah Blundell, Aoife Mannion, Sophie Baggaley, Martha Thomas and Vilde Boe Risa all arriving, Harrop believes United can possibly go one better this time around.

"I think it's realistic ambition for them and certainly what Marc and the players I know there, former team-mates of mine, want," Harrop said.

"And then you've still got other teams like ourselves at Tottenham and you have got Brighton, who will be wanting to push on this year as well, Everton too.

"I know we say every year that it's going to be the most exciting season yet. But I believe it actually will be. 

"Everton have invested as well as us, even Villa to an extent as well. So I think it's going to be really important for this game for the top three places.

"But certainly in and around the top half of the league, I think it's going to be really interesting and really exciting."

 

Skinner was widely praised for his work at Birmingham, whom he led to the FA Cup final in 2017 and to fourth in the table in the WSL in 2019.

The 38-year-old finished bottom of the National Women's Soccer League in his first season with Orlando before a more promising start to the 2021 campaign.

Harrop was part of the Birmingham side that achieved success under Skinner and expects her former manager to be a success on his return to the English game.

"It was really tough to see when he got the job [with Orlando]," Harrop said. 

"You know, he kind of went out to Orlando and got that experience, but I think deep down he'd always wanted to manage in the WSL. 

"I think he's got a quite unique style of play, certainly from when I was under him at Birmingham. And he's well respected. I know he'll get the best out of all the players there. 

"That's certainly what he did with us at Birmingham. It's going to be interesting to see whether his style has changed since being out in America. 

"He was quite adamant on the way that he wanted his teams play."

Harrop is entering her second season as a Tottenham player and has made the third-most appearances of any player in WSL history.

Spurs finished eighth in the top flight in 2020-21, but Harrop is hopeful of challenging United for a Champions League berth this coming season in their first full campaign under Rehanne Skinner.

"I definitely think we will improve," she said. "You know, we've already kind of stayed ourselves and we want at least a top four finish, if not higher. 

"Rhian's recruited well. She's bought in a lot of good new quality, kind of international signings really. Every year you want to improve but I think realistically we can definitely develop on last season. 

"I think just having Rhian in from the beginning will help. Last season she came in in January, so it was a lot harder for her to kind of implement all her tactics and her style of play. 

"This year we've had everyone together from the beginning of pre-season in terms of her and the coaching staff. So hopefully there will be a bit of flow to the league this year."

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