The joy, the pain, the ecstasy and the heartbreak – all in one photo.
Personally, as a lioness’s fan, I am devastated. Sometimes you give everything you have and it is simply just not enough, however painful that is.
As a fan of the women’s game, however, I am excited for the future. The fact that the World Cup final had over 38.4 million viewing hours, making it the most watched women’s sport event on TV of 2023, paints a very positive picture for football in the coming years.
Nationally, the fever that gripped huge swaths of the British public, not only young girls, but also young boys too, has come again in a second wave after the Lionesses reached this historic final. Who hasn’t heard of Mary Earps, Alessia Russo or Lucy Bronze? The packed-out stadiums at Wembley and the King Power tell you everything you need to know.
Internationally, the quality of the game is rising and the gap between the top teams and the emerging teams is closing. You only need to look at how Sweden took the most decorated national team on the globe, the USA, to penalties before Lina Hurtig sent the Americans packing. Or how Colombia beat European giant Germany in the group stage before so nearly cutting England’s journey short. Ten years ago, this would have been almost unimaginable. That women’s football is on the rapid rise is undeniable.
That pinpoint strike by Olga Carmona to win Spain the World Cup not only strikes despair into my heart, but also strikes hope into my heart for the thrilling future that is anticipated for women’s football.