England hero Ella Toone lauded the way fans across the country have got behind the Lionesses ahead of their Euro 2022 semi-final against either Sweden or Belgium on Tuesday.
Toone volleyed home an 84th-minute equaliser against Spain to send the quarter-final to extra-time before Georgia Stanway won it for England with a thunderous long-range strike.
And now, with the whole country behind them, Manchester United midfielder Toone has her eyes set on a place in the final.
“For all of us it would be amazing to get that win in the semi-final,” said Toone, who has 12 goals in 19 caps for England.
“[The quarter-final] was really special in front of that crowd and every game we’ve played has been amazing, the atmospheres have been unbelievable.
“We’re so grateful for the fans that support us, whether that’s in the stadium or at home, and we just want to keep making them proud.”
With the country gripped by Euro fever, Toone is hoping that the Lionesses’ deep run into the tournament will encourage more girls to start kicking a ball.
“Hopefully we can go on and put on another big performance,” added Toone.
“I think we’re getting more and more fans involved, everyone’s just loving it and enjoying it, and I’m sure we’ll have even more fans supporting us in the semis.
“Hopefully we see everyone’s beers flying around and that they’re enjoying the game, and we’re just making them proud, that’s the main thing, and we’re inspiring the next generation.”
The 22-year-old has been in fine form off the bench for England this summer, linking up well with clubmate Alessia Russo.
The duo combined for Toone’s equaliser, with Russo turning provider having been assisted by her United teammate for her second strike against Northern Ireland.
And Toone praised the impact substitutes like herself have had in the tournament so far.
“It’s about all 23 players, we’ve said that right from the start,” she said.
“Everyone plays a different role and obviously the substitutes know their role when they’re coming on and I think we’ve done that in every game.
“I just knew my role tonight and managed to come on and change the game. [My role] was just to find the pockets of space and to hold my position in the pocket. Just get in the box and make things happen, and obviously right time, right place.
“I knew that I had to come on and change the game and help the team and I managed to be in the right place at the right time to slot it in.
“I knew Alessia [Russo] would win that header and it was just about getting in and around it and winning the second ball, and I’m just over the moon I could come on and help the team.”
“It was probably the best feeling I’ve ever had in football.”
Tickets are on sale now for fans to experience a history-making tournament that aims to unite football and communities and amplify the growth of the women’s game. www.uefa.com/womenseuro/ticketing