Fans get behind Lionesses ahead of 2023 Women’s World Cup final

Young England fans excited ahead of the final in Sydney – Getty Images/Jenny Evans

08:41 AM BST

Here’s a moving montage

08:36 AM BST

The England coach has left the hotel

Sarina Wiegman’s squad are on the way to Stadium Australia from their city centre hotel. The journey should take a bit under one hour.

08:34 AM BST

Millie Bright: ‘We have to play the game of our lives’

The England defender spoke ahead of today’s match to the media and here’s what she had to say on the enormity of today’s final….

“I think it has been players’ dreams for years. We know how passionate our nation is back home and how much they want us to win. But for us, there is a process. We have a game plan to execute. We need to play the game of our lives.”

Millie Bright

Millie Bright and Co are one win away from World Cup glory – Getty Images/Charlotte Wilson

08:24 AM BST

More English pre-match joy in Sydney

08:23 AM BST

A great way to get to the final

I also suspect that our very won Tom Garry is quite excited as well…

08:18 AM BST

England’s finest wish the Lionesses all the luck in the world

08:16 AM BST

Rishi Sunak tells the Lionesses ‘the nation is rooting for you’

The Prime Minister has told England’s Lionesses that the “whole nation is rooting for you” as they prepare to take on Spain in the Women’s World Cup final.

In a letter, Rishi Sunak wished England boss Sarina Wiegman and her players good luck for the final in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday, telling them: “You’ve made us all proud.”

Sunak has opted not to attend the southern hemisphere final in person, sending Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer to Australia to represent the UK Government.

Addressing the letter to “Sarina and all our Lionesses”, the Prime Minister said: “On behalf of the entire country, I want to wish you the best of luck against Spain in the World Cup final!

“Once again, this summer, you’ve made us all proud.

“From beating the Aussies in their own backyard to winning that penalty shoot-out, you have inspired us with your skill, teamwork and courage.

“This weekend, like millions of others, I will be watching and cheering you on.

“But whatever the result, I want you to know that you have already secured a lasting legacy: that every girl in this country will have equal access to all school sport, including football.

“For my daughters, and for every girl in this country, you have made football something for them; you have made them feel they belong on the pitch.

“So – in a way – you’ve already brought football home.”

08:09 AM BST

Good omen alert!

England will, apparently, be wearing their blue away kit today (not sure why as white doesn’t clash with Spain’s red…). And as many of you will doubtless know, back in 1966 England wore their away kit of red…

England 1966

Away kit glory – will it be the same for the Lionesses today? – Getty Images

07:55 AM BST

Sarina Wiegman and the Lionesses hoping to emulate the heroes of 1966

England are in the World Cup final, words no one has been able to string together in a footballing sense since 1966, and words that tend to send the UK partly crazy with a mixture of hope, expectation, excitement, and a fair few nerves.

Yes, the men’s rugby team won at the same stadium the Lionesses will play in today, back in 2003, and yes the brilliant Red Roses reached the World Cup final only last November. And who can forget Anya Shrubsole and Co, as well as Eoin Morgan’s men, landing global glory in 2017 and 2019 respectively? But there’s something about the national game and the search for World Cup success that has lifted today’s final into the higher reaches of the country’s consciousness.

Just uttering 1966 tends to make even the average English person go misty eyed (regardless whether they were alive then or not) and becoming the first England football team to win a senior final on the world stage since Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Geoff Hurst and the legion of legends did it 57 years ago is at the forefront of Sarina Wiegman’s mind.

“Everyone is talking about 1966, so let’s be at our best on Sunday and try and be successful,” the England manager said. “Making a final is special but with thi8s team and the challenges we had, how we find a way all the time to solve problems has been amazing. It’s very special being in a final but now we want to win it too.”

Whisper it quietly but England have been far from their best on their path to today’s showdown against Spain. They were pushed all the way in the knockout games against Nigeria and Colombia and it was only in that memorable semi-final victory over hosts Australia that they began to show what they can really do.

Stay here for all the pre-match build-up, team news (will Lauren James return to the starting XI?) and action, with kick-off set for 11am.

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