Sarina Wiegman’s side raise the tournament curtain on Wednesday as they welcome Austria to Old Trafford, the palatial home of Manchester United. The Lionesses also face Norway and Northern Ireland in Group A – on Monday and next Friday respectively – as they aim to progress to the knockout stage in search of their first major tournament triumph.
Ahead of the Euro 2022 opener, They received the wholehearted backing of male counterparts including Henderson and Chelsea duo Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell. The trio shared pictures on Instagram of them wearing Lionesses kits bearing the names of forward Fran Kirby, defender Demi Stokes and skipper Leah Williamson, who plays in midfield.
Henderson captioned his post, “Supporting the Lionesses all the way! You’ve never seen an icon like @leahwilliamsonn,” while Chilwell wrote, “Nothing gets past @demistokes. You’ve never seen defence like this.” On his own social media channel, Mount added, “@frankirby with the flair! Let’s go @lionesses, bring it home!!”
The touching tribute from members of one England squad to another come after Prince William, the president of the Football Association, sent his best wishes to the Lionesses. William recently visited Wiegman and Co. at their training camp and subsequently posted a message online which said: “Good luck to the @Lionesses as the Women’s Euro 2022 kicks off today.
“You’re already doing the nation proud and we’ll be cheering you on throughout the tournament! W.” William even briefly took part in a shooting drill before addressing the Lionesses at St George’s Park, the FA’s national team base, in June.
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He said: “I will be keeping an eye on what you’re doing and be watching the games with the children, and I’ll try to come along where I can to give my support. We’re all so proud of you and you should be really proud of yourselves, where you’ve got yourselves. This is the pinnacle coming right up, the next few weeks for you, and I know you’ll do us all proud.”
Ahead of the fixture against Austria, Williamson declared she and her teammates would “embrace” the pressure of being tournament hosts. She told reporters on Tuesday: “It’s maybe something we’ve not been that good at in the past, but we’re loving the fact there will be 77,000 [fans] there tomorrow and most of them will be there for us. Of course it’s an advantage. We’re at home and we intend to use it as much as possible and embrace that.”