Ella Toone has spoken of England’s hope to spark further scenes of jubilation among fans and “keep making them proud” after they advanced to the Euro 2022 semi-finals.
The tournament hosts set up a last-four clash with Sweden or Belgium at Bramall Lane next Tuesday with a thrilling 2-1 extra-time victory over Spain at the Amex Stadium on Wednesday night in which Sarina Wiegman’s side battled back from a goal down.
Substitute Toone’s 84th-minute equaliser, Georgia Stanway’s stunning winner six minutes into extra time and the final whistle prompted wild celebrations from the 28,994 crowd in attendance for a contest that was also watched by over nine million people via the BBC.
Toone described her feeling after her goal as “probably the best I’ve ever had in football”, and when asked about what it would mean to get fans around the country jumping around by doing something similar in the semi-final, the midfielder said: “It would be amazing.
“For all of us it would be amazing to get that win in the semi-final. (Wednesday) was really special in front of that crowd and every game we’ve played has been amazing, the atmospheres have been unbelievable.
“We’re so grateful for the fans that support us, whether that’s in the stadium or at home, and we just want to keep making them proud.”
It has been announced that the semi-final will be screened in Trafalgar Square, which will host up to 5,000 supporters.
And Toone said: “Hopefully we see everyone’s beers flying around and that they’re enjoying the game, and we’re just making them proud, that’s the main thing, and we’re inspiring the next generation. Hopefully we can go on and put on another big performance.”
The 22-year-old Manchester United star added: “I think we’re getting more and more fans involved, everyone’s just loving it and enjoying it, and I’m sure we’ll have even more fans supporting us in the semis.”
The Lionesses – on a quest this summer to secure their first major trophy – have gone as far as the semi-finals in each of their last three tournaments.
Their male counterparts made it one step further with their runners-up finish at the Euros last summer, and Stanway has talked about messages of support and advice from the England men’s team showing “we’re definitely a united nation”.
Stanway, who has joined Bayern Munich this summer after leaving Manchester City, said: “We’ve got a few messages off the men, just supporting us and willing us all the way, saying they’re coming to the next match.
“We’ve had just certain messages off Declan Rice, just the lads that were involved last year. They’re just kind of giving us tips on momentum, taking it forward and just the support really.
“We’re definitely a united nation.”