The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of the Football Association, said: ‘The entire country is so proud of everything you’re achieving. We believe in you and will be with you all the way!’
And the Prime Minister tweeted: ‘On to Wembley! A fantastic result for Captain @leahcwilliamson and the @Lionesses tonight against Sweden.
‘Come on England, bring it home #WEURO2022’
Goals from Beth Mead, Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo – whose audacious backheel soon had the words ‘what a goal’ trending on Twitter – and Fran Kirby helped the Lionesses reach their first major final since 2009.
They can now look forward to a showdown on Sunday with either Germany or France at a sold-out Wembley, where victory will secure them the first major trophy in their history.
It will be a third appearance in the competition’s final after the runners-up finishes of 13 years ago – when they suffered a 6-2 loss to Germany – and at the inaugural Euros in 1984, which saw them beaten on penalties by Sweden.
Following a shaky start for the Lionesses in which Sweden’s Stina Blackstenius hit the bar, Mead – already leading the race for the Golden Boot – put Sarina Wiegman’s side ahead with a 34th-minute strike that took her to six goals for the tournament.
Mead then turned provider early in the opening moments of the second half, delivering a corner that was headed in by Bronze, before substitute Russo notched her fourth goal of these finals with a delightful back-heeled effort in the 68th minute.
Kirby added the fourth with a chip eight minutes later and it could have been even better more for England, with Lauren Hemp having rattled the woodwork at 2-0, as they comprehensively avoided more semi-final disappointment after exiting at this stage at their last three major tournaments.
The sense the team are on the brink of something special was certainly tangible among England fans in the 28,624 crowd at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane stadium, with chants of ‘football’s coming home’ reverberating around the ground at various points.
The whole crowd was celebrating and whooping as England made it through to the final.
As Kirby scored England’s fourth goal of the night, there were smiles all around in Trafalgar Square, where thousands of fans gathered to watch the game on big screens.
Zuha Animashaun, 19, a student who lives in London, said: ‘It’s coming home. The atmosphere has been absolutely electric.
‘Scoring four goals is a bonus to that and it’s been really good fun.’
Student Freddie Lagesse, 18, who lives in Chiswick, said he ‘felt proud’, adding: ‘It’s been really good fun. Everyone’s been great and I’m so happy to see England represented.’
Sam Duce, 24, who lives in London and works in telecoms, said: ‘It was great to see some long overdue support for the women’s team.’
Claudia Bruce, 24, from Leicester, said the victory was ‘huge’, adding that ‘women’s football has never been more supported’.
Alice Potts, 24, from Leicester, added: ‘Russo’s backheel goal was phenomenal.’
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