England Women’s players have thanked the record number of fans who turned out for their Euro 2022 opening game against Austria.
The Three Lionesses kicked-off the tournament with a , with 68,871 people generating a raucous atmosphere at Old Trafford and smashing the record attendance for a Women’s Euros game.
While it was not England’s best performance, the noise levels in Manchester did not for one moment drop and players showed their gratitude after full-time with a lap of honour around the stadium.
‘Beyond words. What an amazing night to start the tournament with a win,’ Beth Mead, who scored the decisive goal, told BBC Sport.
‘I’m really happy to get a goal for the team. ‘I was pretty sure [it was across the line] but you always doubt yourself when a bit of time passes.
‘Listen to the atmosphere, unbelievable. I’d like to tell you we could hear what she [manager Sarina Wiegman] was saying but it’s so loud we couldn’t hear!
‘We were all into Sweet Caroline. She’ll probably have the debrief in the dressing room.’
Sadly, this is the only time Old Trafford will be used for the tournament, with the rest of the games set to be played at stadiums with far smaller capacities.
The rest of England’s group games will be held at the Brighton’s Amex Stadium, but the final will be at Wembley, and given its 90,000 capacity the record could well be broken again.
Regardless, England captain Leah Williamson was thankful for the support on Wednesday night and hopes it can continue over the next month.
She said: ‘It was pretty special. I had no idea what to expect. We embraced it really well.
‘I kept my eyes closed during the national anthem. If I’d looked at mum I’d have started crying, if I got too involved. I kept it at bay.
‘What an occasion. The fans came out and we connected well. It was a good start to the tournament.
‘It’s loud. Communication becomes harder. At times it gets in the way but I’d take that any day. Great atmosphere.’
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