Prince William, 40, gave England captain Leah Williamson a heartfelt hug after the Lionesses' victory against Germany tonight

Beaming Prince William presents the Lionesses with the Euro’s trophy

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The Duke of Cambridge was beaming tonight as he gave England captain Leah Williamson a heartfelt hug after the Lionesses victory against Germany. 

Prince William, 40, who sent a sweet video of encouragement to the team with his daughter Princess Charlotte, seven, this morning, was there to celebrate with the team, who snatched the Women’s Euro title after winning 2-1 against Germany at Wembley tonight. 

The royal was all smiles as he shook the hands of the players, gave captain Leah Williamson a hug, and had words of praise for Chloe Kelly who scored the decisive goal against the opposing team during overtime. 

His grandmother the Queen led the praise, telling the team in a statement ‘You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations’.

Prince William, 40, gave England captain Leah Williamson a heartfelt hug after the Lionesses' victory against Germany tonight

Prince William, 40, gave England captain Leah Williamson a heartfelt hug after the Lionesses’ victory against Germany tonight 

The royal was beaming as he shook hands with Beth Mead, who put on a fierce battle during tonight's game

The royal was beaming as he shook hands with Beth Mead, who put on a fierce battle during tonight's game

The royal was beaming as he shook hands with Beth Mead, who put on a fierce battle during tonight’s game 

The Duke of Cambridge could not contain his excitement as he shook the hands of all the players

The Duke of Cambridge could not contain his excitement as he shook the hands of all the players

The Duke of Cambridge could not contain his excitement as he shook the hands of all the players 

It had been a tense 90 minutes with flying tackles and yellow cards peppering a highly-energetic match, watched by Prince William in the crowd.

But the introduction of Ella Toone looked to have settled it after she broke to fizz a shot past helpless German keeper Merle Frohms watched by a record 87,192 in the stadium.

But there was heartbreak minutes later as Magull worked her way into position to equalise, devastating England fans across the country.

With only ten minutes left, the game was left balancing on a knife edge with the ultimate prize at stake.

The Duke of Cambridge handed the trophy to a beaming Leah Williamson as the team celebrated their victory tonight

The Duke of Cambridge handed the trophy to a beaming Leah Williamson as the team celebrated their victory tonight

The Duke of Cambridge handed the trophy to a beaming Leah Williamson as the team celebrated their victory tonight 

The royal went in for a hug as he congratulated captain Leah Williamson for the win against Germany tonight

The royal went in for a hug as he congratulated captain Leah Williamson for the win against Germany tonight

The royal went in for a hug as he congratulated captain Leah Williamson for the win against Germany tonight 

Prince William also congratulating the losing team for making it to the final of the tournament tongiht

Prince William also congratulating the losing team for making it to the final of the tournament tongiht

Prince William also congratulating the losing team for making it to the final of the tournament tongiht 

Prince William, 40, who sent a sweet video of encouragement to the team with his daughter Princess Charlotte, seven, this morning, was there to celebrate with the team, who snatched the Women's Euro title after winning 2-1 against Germany at Wembley

Prince William, 40, who sent a sweet video of encouragement to the team with his daughter Princess Charlotte, seven, this morning, was there to celebrate with the team, who snatched the Women's Euro title after winning 2-1 against Germany at Wembley

Prince William, 40, who sent a sweet video of encouragement to the team with his daughter Princess Charlotte, seven, this morning, was there to celebrate with the team, who snatched the Women’s Euro title after winning 2-1 against Germany at Wembley

A proud Duke of Cambridge looked on as England celebrated their well-deserved win tonight at Wembley

A proud Duke of Cambridge looked on as England celebrated their well-deserved win tonight at Wembley

A proud Duke of Cambridge looked on as England celebrated their well-deserved win tonight at Wembley 

William also shook heads with Head Coach Sarina Wiegman and congratulated her for the win tonight

William also shook heads with Head Coach Sarina Wiegman and congratulated her for the win tonight

William also shook heads with Head Coach Sarina Wiegman and congratulated her for the win tonight 

The stalemate could not be broken, going into another agonising 30 more minutes of extra time which at first had produced nothing more.

But Kelly was not about to let the game go to penalties and picked the biggest stage in the world to produce her first ever international goal.

She dominated German keeper Frohms to propel England to a 2-1 lead and set the game beyond any doubt.

Tonight in a statement The Queen said the women would go down in history and be icons of sport.

Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly, who scored the decisive goal against Germany in overtime, where ecstatic as they celebrated

Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly, who scored the decisive goal against Germany in overtime, where ecstatic as they celebrated

Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly, who scored the decisive goal against Germany in overtime, where ecstatic as they celebrated 

Head coach Sarina Wiegman and her team also got to hold the tournament's trophy after England's win

Head coach Sarina Wiegman and her team also got to hold the tournament's trophy after England's win

Head coach Sarina Wiegman and her team also got to hold the tournament’s trophy after England’s win 

Forward Fran Kirby, who played an instrumental roal in tonight's game, raised her hand to the sky as she held the trophy

Forward Fran Kirby, who played an instrumental roal in tonight's game, raised her hand to the sky as she held the trophy

Forward Fran Kirby, who played an instrumental roal in tonight’s game, raised her hand to the sky as she held the trophy 

She said: ‘My warmest congratulations, and those of my family, go to you all on winning the European Women’s Football Championships.

‘It is a significant achievement for the entire team, including your support staff.

‘The Championships and your performance in them have rightly won praise.

‘However, your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so deservedly earned.

‘You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.

‘It is my hope that you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today.’

Prince William and his daughter Princess Charlotte led the nation in wishing good luck to the England women’s team head of their Euro 2022 final against Germany at Wembley tonight.

The Duke of Cambridge posted a video to his official Twitter account this morning in which he and Charlotte shared their support for the Lionesses.

The royal warmly shook the hand of Arsenal forward Beth Mead after England's victory tonight

The royal warmly shook the hand of Arsenal forward Beth Mead after England's victory tonight

The royal warmly shook the hand of Arsenal forward Beth Mead after England’s victory tonight  

William put on an animated display tonight as he watched the team battle it out against Germany

William put on an animated display tonight as he watched the team battle it out against Germany

William put on an animated display tonight as he watched the team battle it out against Germany 

‘We both want to wish the lionesses the best of luck tonight, you’ve done amazingly well in the competition and we’re rooting for you all the way!’ Will exclaimed, before Charlotte chipped in: ‘Good luck, I hope you win. Bye!’

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The royal show of support came after England men’s captain Harry Kane posted a social media message of support for the Lionesses, who will face the Germans for the European championship crown this evening.

Tottenham Hotspur ace Kane led England’s men to the Euro 2020 final in the rescheduled competition in 2021, with Gareth Southgate’s side losing to Italy on penalties.

Kane said in a video posted on Twitter: ‘Hi Lionesses, I just wanted to wish you all the best for today’s game against Germany.

Fans are seen waiving England flags as they come to cheer on the Lionesses' at Boxpark Wembley before the match

Fans are seen waiving England flags as they come to cheer on the Lionesses' at Boxpark Wembley before the match

Fans are seen waiving England flags as they come to cheer on the Lionesses’ at Boxpark Wembley before the match

Fans cheer at Boxpark Wembley before the kick off at 5pm when England faces Germany in the Women's Euro 2022 final

Fans cheer at Boxpark Wembley before the kick off at 5pm when England faces Germany in the Women's Euro 2022 final

Fans cheer at Boxpark Wembley before the kick off at 5pm when England faces Germany in the Women’s Euro 2022 final

England's Lionesses pictured as they celebrate their first goal during Tuesday's 4-0 match against Sweden

England's Lionesses pictured as they celebrate their first goal during Tuesday's 4-0 match against Sweden

England’s Lionesses pictured as they celebrate their first goal during Tuesday’s 4-0 match against Sweden

England fans pose for a photo on Wembley Way ahead of the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium today

England fans pose for a photo on Wembley Way ahead of the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium today

England fans pose for a photo on Wembley Way ahead of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium today

England fans Gracie May, 8, and Amelia Lee, 6 pose on Wembley Way before the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley

England fans Gracie May, 8, and Amelia Lee, 6 pose on Wembley Way before the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley

England fans Gracie May, 8, and Amelia Lee, 6 pose on Wembley Way before the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final at Wembley

The Duke of Cambridge posted a video to his official Twitter account this morning in which he and Charlotte shared their support for the Lionesses

The Duke of Cambridge posted a video to his official Twitter account this morning in which he and Charlotte shared their support for the Lionesses

The Duke of Cambridge posted a video to his official Twitter account this morning in which he and Charlotte shared their support for the Lionesses

Fans are pictured arriving today at Wembley Way before the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium

Fans are pictured arriving today at Wembley Way before the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium

Fans are pictured arriving today at Wembley Way before the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium

A woman holds a sign saying English professional footballer Beth Mead is 'on fire' and saying 'your defence is terrified' among several women also holding up England fans before the kick off with Germany

A woman holds a sign saying English professional footballer Beth Mead is 'on fire' and saying 'your defence is terrified' among several women also holding up England fans before the kick off with Germany

A woman holds a sign saying English professional footballer Beth Mead is ‘on fire’ and saying ‘your defence is terrified’ among several women also holding up England fans before the kick off with Germany 

England men's captain Harry Kane also shared a video message in support of the women ahead of their final against Germany tonight

England men's captain Harry Kane also shared a video message in support of the women ahead of their final against Germany tonight

Arsenal and England's Bukayo Saka was another footballer who took to Twitter to share a message of encouragement

Arsenal and England's Bukayo Saka was another footballer who took to Twitter to share a message of encouragement

England stars Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka shared a video message in support of the women ahead of their final tonight

England Women’s team’s recipe for today’s final 

The England Lionesses have their own dedicated team of chefs preparing meals – with beans on toast a big winner among the team.

Three chefs at the Lensbury Resort have been assigned to prepare meals for the squad, making sure they are not only nutritious but providing energy for the twice daily training sessions.

Favourite food options chosen by the team include grilled chicken and pasta dishes with the menu carefully prepared by a nutritionist assigned to the squad by the FA.

But striker Bethany England has revealed hers – and many of the team’s favourite pre-match meal – is beans on toast.

‘It is not on the usual menu at the Lensbury and we don’t even serve baked beans with any of our meals, but this was a particular request,’ said a source at the resort.

‘It’s a big favourite with the team – perhaps the secret ingredient that will help them win the final’

The team also have the choice of choosing from the regular menu served at the Lensbury with meals such as fish and chips and steamed pollock.

There is also a choice of five salads with numerous vegetarian options, including a falafel burger.

Those players looking for a sweet fix could chose from Banana split or sticky toffee pudding among the deserts.

The Lensbury – which boasts former Arsenal striker Paul Merson as a member – will have hosted the England team for almost a month by Sunday evening.

‘It’s going to be an incredible experience, incredible atmosphere at Wembley.

‘I can’t wait to be there myself, so I’m wishing you all the best.

‘Good luck, go get that win, the whole country’s behind you.

‘Really looking forward to it, so all the best.’

Arsenal and England’s Bukayo Saka was another footballer who took to Twitter to share a message of encouragement.

‘To our Lionesses, I just want to say, you know, it’s been such a joy to watch you over the course of the tournament,’ the 20-year-old Gunner said.

‘You’ve been a pleasure to watch and I’m really looking forward to Sunday to see you all make history. So just a quick message to say we’re all supporting you and wishing you all the best.’ 

Formula One driver George Russell, who will start on pole position for the first time in his career at today’s Hungarian Grand Prix after an incredible showing in qualifying yesterday, was also among those sending their support.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘Best of luck to the @Lionesses today!’

England’s women’s cricket team – who are currently competing at the Commonwealth Games – chipped in with more well wishes.

In a video posted on England Cricket’s Twitter feed, captain Heather Knight – who lifted the Women’s World Cup at Lord’s in 2017 – had some advice for Lionesses skipper Leah Williamson.

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She said: ‘Leah, there is nothing better than captaining your side in a home final. Embrace it, enjoy the moment, keep everyone calm, keep passing out from the back like you do for the Arsenal and you’re going to be great.

‘Best of luck girls. We’re all behind you. Come on England.’

And in a message to the women’s team and their manager Sarina Wiegman, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote: ‘On behalf of the whole country, I want to wish you all the very best of luck in today’s final.

‘Your passion for the game, your tenacity in tricky spots and above all your astounding talent on the pitch have already created a summer of fantastic memories for millions of us.

‘You can see it in the sold-out stadia, in the packed fan zones, in the small children dancing wildly to Sweet Caroline and the TV viewing figures that have seen records crumbling as comprehensively as Sweden’s defence did in the semi-final.

‘In any pride, it is the lionesses who ruthlessly hunt as a team and bring their prize back home, and I am sure that will be the case against Germany.’

The Lionesses will face the Germans for the European championship crown this evening

The Lionesses will face the Germans for the European championship crown this evening

The Lionesses will face the Germans for the European championship crown this evening

A fan is seen wearing a Lionesses' mask in support of the England team outside the Wembley Stadium before the match

A fan is seen wearing a Lionesses' mask in support of the England team outside the Wembley Stadium before the match

A fan is seen wearing a Lionesses’ mask in support of the England team outside the Wembley Stadium before the match

England fan Edith, 11, poses on Wembley Way at Wembley Way before the UEFA Women's Euro 2022

England fan Edith, 11, poses on Wembley Way at Wembley Way before the UEFA Women's Euro 2022

England fan Edith, 11, poses on Wembley Way at Wembley Way before the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022

England fans queue to get into the Wembley fan park ahead of the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium

England fans queue to get into the Wembley fan park ahead of the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium

England fans queue to get into the Wembley fan park ahead of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium

Football fever has hit Wembley Stadium this afternoon as fans line up to buy merchandise to remember the historic game

Football fever has hit Wembley Stadium this afternoon as fans line up to buy merchandise to remember the historic game

Football fever has hit Wembley Stadium this afternoon as fans line up to buy merchandise to remember the historic game

A young England fan poses today on Wembley Way before the UEFA Women's Euro 2022

A young England fan poses today on Wembley Way before the UEFA Women's Euro 2022

A young England fan poses today on Wembley Way before the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022

England fans are seen outside the Wembley Stadium before the match with flags and face paint showing their support

England fans are seen outside the Wembley Stadium before the match with flags and face paint showing their support

England fans are seen outside the Wembley Stadium before the match with flags and face paint showing their support

England fans pictured in packed out Boxpark Wembley before the match as they clamour to be part of the action

England fans pictured in packed out Boxpark Wembley before the match as they clamour to be part of the action

England fans pictured in packed out Boxpark Wembley before the match as they clamour to be part of the action 

In a message to the women's team and their manager Sarina Wiegman, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote: 'On behalf of the whole country, I want to wish you all the very best of luck in today's final'

In a message to the women's team and their manager Sarina Wiegman, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote: 'On behalf of the whole country, I want to wish you all the very best of luck in today's final'

In a message to the women’s team and their manager Sarina Wiegman, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote: ‘On behalf of the whole country, I want to wish you all the very best of luck in today’s final’

In a video posted on England Cricket's Twitter feed, captain Heather Knight - who lifted the Women's World Cup at Lord's in 2017 - had some advice for Lionesses skipper Leah Williamson

In a video posted on England Cricket's Twitter feed, captain Heather Knight - who lifted the Women's World Cup at Lord's in 2017 - had some advice for Lionesses skipper Leah Williamson

In a video posted on England Cricket’s Twitter feed, captain Heather Knight – who lifted the Women’s World Cup at Lord’s in 2017 – had some advice for Lionesses skipper Leah Williamson

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said his daughter was among those inspired by the team.

He said: ‘As a parent, I know how vital it is to see strong, successful role models in sport.

‘What you and your team have accomplished this summer will not just be celebrated as a great moment for English football but as one that encouraged and inspired young women like my own daughter.’

During the Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace, British army servicemen performed a rendition of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ in a rousing video posted on Twitter. 

Other celebrities to wish the Lionesses well included David Beckham, Gary Neville, Geri Halliwell, Amanda Holden and Alan Carr. 

England’s highly-anticipated clash against Germany is expected to draw in the biggest home TV audience on record for a women’s football match.

Some 90,000 fans are due to fill Wembley Stadium – most hoping to watch the Lionesses secure the first major tournament title for an England team since 1966 – while millions more watch from homes, pubs and fan zones.

The record number of UK viewers for a women’s game is nine million, which was set during England’s semi-final defeat by the United States in the 2019 World Cup, according to the ratings organisation Barb.

Ahead of the 5pm kick-off on Sunday, an all-female RAF flypast will take to the skies.

Flanked by two Typhoon fighter jets, a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft crewed by three women will soar over the north-west London arena.

A nation gripped by roar emotion for women’s team on cusp of immortality: Countdown to Lionesses’ Euro 2022 final against Germany begins

By Molly Clayton for the Mail on Sunday 

The last time England’s women’s football team played a championship final on home soil, it was on a mud-bath pitch in front of near-empty stands.

But today, the nation’s new-found darlings, the Lionesses, are expected to be watched by 15 million TV viewers.

The difference between a team that will be introduced to Prince William at Wembley and their predecessors who played in that game in 1984 at an unheralded ground in south Bedfordshire is symbolic, too, of the immense changes that have taken place in British society. Women’s football has captured the public’s imagination.

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In fact, the joy the Lionesses have brought recently could be said to have matched the reaction to anything the men’s squad has done.

Boris Johnson encapsulated the feelgood factor yesterday when he praised the team in a message ahead of today’s Euro 2022 final against Germany.

FLYING THE FLAG: Forward Beth Mead, who scored against Sweden on Tuesday, at the England camp yesterday

FLYING THE FLAG: Forward Beth Mead, who scored against Sweden on Tuesday, at the England camp yesterday

FLYING THE FLAG: Forward Beth Mead, who scored against Sweden on Tuesday, at the England camp yesterday

Alessia Russo of England celebrates after scoring her side's third goal during the UEFA Women's Euro England 2022 Semi Final match between England and Sweden/Belgium at Bramall Lane on July 26, 2022 in Sheffield

Alessia Russo of England celebrates after scoring her side's third goal during the UEFA Women's Euro England 2022 Semi Final match between England and Sweden/Belgium at Bramall Lane on July 26, 2022 in Sheffield

Alessia Russo of England celebrates after scoring her side’s third goal during the UEFA Women’s Euro England 2022 Semi Final match between England and Sweden/Belgium at Bramall Lane on July 26, 2022 in Sheffield

Not afraid of some needle 

Seven of the England squad have tattoos. Lucy Bronze has several on her wrist, including stars she had inked after her US college team won the national title in 2009.

Millie Bright has the eyes of a tiger and a lotus leaf on her arm. Beth England has several on her leg – one reads: ‘Life’s a gamble so enjoy the game.’

Leah Williamson has linked hands under her ribs and a sword on her hip, while Rachel Daly has ‘passion’, ‘courage’ and ‘desire’ on a bicep.

Keira Walsh and Fran Kirby have also been inked.

He said: ‘Your passion for the game, your tenacity in tricky spots and above all your astounding talent on the pitch have already created a summer of fantastic memories for millions of us.

‘In any pride it is the lionesses who ruthlessly hunt as a team and bring their prize back home, and I am sure that will be the case against Germany.

‘But whatever happens at Wembley, I know that, the next morning, the pitches and playgrounds and parks of this country will be filled as never before with girls and women who know beyond any shadow of a doubt that football is not just for boys – it really is for everyone.’

Tickets for the final sold out before the tournament began. Some have since been resold for almost 20 times their original price.

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are expected at the game with daughter Princess Charlotte, seven – a keen player who is said to be ‘really good in goal’.

After England’s semi-final win, Prince William congratulated the team, saying: ‘The entire country is so proud of everything you’re achieving. We believe in you and will be with you all the way!’

When England, who have never won the tournament, played that final in 1984, some players’ husbands were unable to join the crowd of 2,500 at Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road ground because they could not afford the transport. The game only had halves of 35 minutes instead of 45 and a smaller ball than that played with by men was used.

Former England goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain describes tonight’s game as ‘the most romantic final as a football fan that you could wish for’.

Football fan Amelia Sowden from Ilkley inside the Fan zone on June 26

Football fan Amelia Sowden from Ilkley inside the Fan zone on June 26

Football fan Amelia Sowden from Ilkley inside the Fan zone on June 26

The Sander-Powell family from Taughton are photographed from inside the Fan zone

The Sander-Powell family from Taughton are photographed from inside the Fan zone

The Sander-Powell family from Taughton are photographed from inside the Fan zone

Tess Dolan, 8, has become an Internet sensation after being filmed dancing at the England Women's game last night in Sheffield, pictured at her home in West Yorks, July 27

Tess Dolan, 8, has become an Internet sensation after being filmed dancing at the England Women's game last night in Sheffield, pictured at her home in West Yorks, July 27

Tess Dolan, 8, has become an Internet sensation after being filmed dancing at the England Women’s game last night in Sheffield, pictured at her home in West Yorks, July 27

Numerous celebrities and sportspeople have sent their best wishes to the Lionesses. Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton said: ‘Thank you so much for all of the incredible, inspirational work that you’re doing. Everything you’re doing is so empowering for young girls, for young people in general. It’s so inspiring.’

The British Beer and Pub Association predict that ten million pints, worth £40 million, will be drunk today as the nation prays for the end of the proverbial ‘56 years of hurt’ – the period since Bobby Moore’s England team won the World Cup in 1966.

Despite clamour in some quarters for a special one-off bank holiday if the Lionesses win, the Government has ruled that out.

More than 11 million watched England’s semi-final win over Sweden on Tuesday. At half-time today, the National Grid Electricity System Operator expects a surge in demand to 400 megawatts as viewers turn on kettles for a cuppa, and then another 550MW at full-time – the equivalent of 144,000 lightbulbs being turned on at once.

The game kicks off at 5pm and will be broadcast on free-to-air TV on BBC1, on BBC iPlayer or on the BBC Sport website.

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