Here come the goals ! King Charles estatically encourages Lionesses | Football | Sport

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The King has urged the Lionesses to “roar to victory” today as they play in England’s first World Cup final in almost 60 years.

In a rousing battle cry, Charles said: “Good luck today Lionesses, and may you roar to victory!” The message to Sarina Wiegman’s team was posted on Royal social media channels last night and timed to coincide with the break of dawn in Australia.

Royal advisers said both the King and Queen Camilla will be following today’s clash with Spain at Sydney’s Stadium Australia with “the greatest interest”.

Princess Charlotte joined her dad the Prince of Wales, who is President of the Football Association, in sending a good luck message to England.

In a video message posted on social media, William apologised for not being in Australia to watch them in person, which has caused a backlash at home.

Sitting next to Charlotte, the prince said: “Lionesses, I just want to send you a huge ‘good luck’. “We are sorry we can’t be there but we are so proud of all you have achieved and the millions you have inspired here and around the world.

So go out there and enjoy yourself.” A smiling Charlotte, who was clutching a football, added: “Good luck Lionesses!”

Meanwhile, thousands of England supporters have flown into Sydney since last Wednesday’s semi-final in the hope of seeing the nation’s biggest sporting triumph since Sir Alf Ramsey’s men beat West Germany 4-2 at Wembley in 1966.

The fans, many sporting red and white face paint and waving the St George’s flag despite the Lionesses playing in their away blue kit today, said they were excited and nervous as England looked to follow up last year’s glorious Euros triumph.

They will be joined by tens of millions of Britons cheering the team on from their living rooms, pubs and big screen fan-zones, with holidaymakers in Spain set to face off against locals in bars and hotels.

The Lionesses’ run at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand has delivered a £750million boost to the UK economy this summer.

High streets across England are expected to be quiet as the nation stops at 11am to watch the final. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sent a letter addressed to Wiegman, 53, and “all our Lionesses”, saying: “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.

“Like millions of others, I will be watching and cheering you on. “But whatever the result, you have already secured a lasting legacy: that every girl in this country will have equal access to all school sport, including football.

“For many of you, the honour of putting on that England shirt was earned against the odds. It should never have been like that.

“But you faced down outdated attitudes and fashioned your own opportunities to play. “So when you walk out with pride to play for England, you are not just making memories that will stay with us as part of history, you are playing for a different future.”

Mr Sunak, 43, said the Lionesses’ achievements had special significance for him as a father of daughters Krishna, 12 and Anoushka, 10.

He wrote: “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.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also wrote to the team, saying: “I want to send my very best wishes to everyone Down Under – the players, coaches and support staff who have made your fantastic run to the final possible.

“No matter the result, the impact you have had is clear. You have not only inspired countless young girls, but the whole nation. Everyone in England is with you all the way.” As part of the build-up last night the London Eye was lit up in red and white from 9pm and Downing Street moggy Larry became the “feline on the flag” with a mocked up image backing the big cats.

The final, shown live by both the BBC and ITV, is expected to be watched by 14 million viewers at home with another two million in pubs and thousands at fan-zones.

Thousands of England’s 30,000-plus pubs are set to open from 10am to screen the final from 11am, after the Government told councils to rush through early opening requests from landlords.

With some fans swapping morning cuppas for beer, around 13 million pints are set to be supped if England win, up on the normal 10 million on a summer Sunday.

During the match £34million is expected to be spent on drinks in pubs, with £13million on bar food. Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality, said: “Pubs and restaurants are preparing for bumper trade. Venues are making a huge effort for the World Cup.”

Millions more will stage home parties, blowing £103million on supermarket food and drinks. The Government has faced calls for a bank holiday to celebrate the Lionesses if they win the World Cup.

But former England keeper David Seaman believes a better tribute would be ploughing more money into developing the women’s game.

Ministers have pledged some £600million towards creating equal athletic opportunities for girls and Seaman said: “This kind of investment will ensure young girls have the same opportunities as boys.”



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