Pride of the Lionesses: England’s road to Euro 2022 glory – in pictures

Accompanied by excerpts from our writers’ coverage, a photographic celebration of England’s journey to Women’s Euro 2022 victory, from the opening night win to beating Germany in the final

Over little more than three weeks in July, from Manchester via Brighton, Southampton and Sheffield to Wembley, Guardian writers have followed every step of England’s journey through Women’s Euro 2022. Under Sarina Wiegman, who coached the Netherlands to success in the same tournament in 2018, the Lionesses showed they were winners.

A packed Old Trafford watches England defeat Austria in the first game of Euro 2022.

Group A: 6 July, Old Trafford – England 1 Austria 0 (Mead 16)

Trailblazers. Pioneers. Game-changers. History-makers. Yes: England scored a first-half goal and began a major tournament without looking flustered or getting booed off the pitch at full time. It was comfortable rather than easy, composed rather than fluent. But as England completed their lap of honour in front of 69,000 cheering fans, the sense was of a team that were simply relieved to be off and running, determined to ride this wave of noise all the way to the end.

For all England’s busyness, their 15 shots on goal, perhaps the moment that best encapsulated them came just seconds from the end. Leah Williamson received the ball in defence, with Austrian shirts flooding forward in an attempt to hunt her down. If ever there was a time for getting rid, it was here. Instead Williamson looked up and pinged a precise 40-yard pass all along the ground to Georgia Stanway. On a night of peak pressure and peak expectation, England kept their heads, and somehow this felt like the most crucial victory of all.

This is not how England teams are meant to start tournaments. The rules are very clear on this. Instead England never really felt threatened after Beth Mead’s opening goal. Talk about a break with the past.
Jonathan Liew

England fans arrive at Old Trafford prior to the opening match of Euro 2022 between England and Austria.
Beth Mead of England scores the winning goal past Manuela Zinsberger of Austria.
Beth Mead of England celebrates after scoring their team’s first goal.
Lauren Hemp of England runs with the ball,
England captain Leah Williamson.
Lauren Hemp of England celebrates scoring their second goal against Norway with Leah Williamson and Ellen White.

Group A: 11 July, Amex Stadium – England 8 Norway 0 (Stanway 12pen, Hemp 15, White 28 41, Mead 34 38 81, Russo 66)

GOAL! England 8-0 Norway (Mead 81) Eight? Eight! And Beth Mead has her hat-trick! Since being introduced Greenwood has played like someone who fancies a starting role at left-back. She surges into the box and cuts back to Walsh, whose fizzing shot is well blocked by Pettersen. But as the ball breaks loose, Mead is quickest to react and taps home for her third and England’s eighth. Eighth!

90min It really should be emphasised that this Norway team – with players from Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Barcelona, Lyon, PSG and Arsenal – expected, and maybe still expect, to go deep into the competition. They have three minutes of injury time to survive and cling on to this eight-goal deficit. It really has been a remarkable England performance.

Full-time: England 8-0 Norway Peep! PEEP!! PEEEP!!! The referee puts Norway out of their misery and brings an end to one of the all-time great major tournament performances from an England team.

It was a simply stunning performance from Sarina Wiegman’s side against the former champions, who were blown away by the brilliant Beth Mead and co.

John Ashdown

Ellen White of England signals to her teammates.
The crowd cheer as England celebrate after Ellen White celebrates scoring England’s third goal.
Former Arsenal and England players Alex Scott (left) and Ian Wright celebrate after England scored their sixth goal.
England’s Beth Mead (centre left) scores her third goal and England’s eighth.
Sarina Wiegman, Manager of England speaks to her team after their victory.
Beth Mead of England picks up the match ball after her hat trick.
Northern Ireland goalkeeper Jacqueline Burns beats Beth Mead of England to the ball and punches clear.

Group A: 15 July, St Mary’s – Northern Ireland 0 England 5 (Kirby 40, Mead 44, Russo 48 53, Burrows 76og)

It was fitting that Fran Kirby’s rising strike into the top corner would break the resolve of a resilient Northern Ireland defence. The Chelsea forward has been in magical form for England during the group stage of the European Championship, the creative hub of the midfield, and her goal followed a typically selfless move to set up Georgia Stanway when she perhaps should have taken a shot herself.

Kirby’s goal opened the gate which the Lionesses would pour through in their final game in Group A to maintain a perfect start to their Euro 2022 campaign.

England’s smooth run through the group stage hit a small speed bump with the announcement earlier in the day that their manager had tested positive for Covid and would remain at the team’s west London base. The 52-year-old’s assistant, Arjan Veurink, who joined from the Netherlands with her, instead led the team at St Mary’s. He said before kick-off that the impact would be minimal, that Wiegman was “doing OK” and that she would be in contact with him and the rest of the staff during the game. “She is not here, but she will be,” he said. If there was ever a right time for England to lose their manager, this was perhaps it.

Suzanne Wrack

A Northern Ireland fan shows their support prior to the group game against England.
An England fan is pictured in fancy dress with face paint before the match.
England’s Fran Kirby scores their first goal.
Northern Ireland’s Marissa Callaghan and England’s Keira Walsh vie for a header.
England’s Alessia Russo scores their third goal.
Fran Kirby of England speaks to the media in the flash interview after her side’s victory.
Leah Williamson of England prepares to lead her team onto the pitch for the quarter-final match against Spain.

Quarter-final: 20 July, Amex Stadium – England 2 Spain 1 aet (Toone 84, Stanway 96; González 54)

The party was almost over but then Ella Toone turned up and the place went wild again. A goal down and on the edge of elimination with six minutes left, England had been made to suffer by a superb Spain side, but a late equaliser from the Manchester United midfielder took them into extra time where Georgia Stanway smashed in a shot straight out of a comic to carry them into the last four. Next stop on this wild ride: Sheffield.

It wasn’t until after 10pm that they started singing “It’s coming home” here, so hard had it been. Now at last they could believe it really might be, which isn’t to say they wouldn’t suffer more – oh, they would – but by the end England’s players were standing at the side of the pitch belting out Sweet Caroline. “So good, so good,” they sang, and it certainly had been. This was a wonderful match, graced by both teams. A heroic, exhausting occasion they will never forget. Spain had shone but England resisted and rebelled, overturning Esther González’s strike – the first they have conceded at the tournament and one that threatened to bring it to a premature end.

In the end, though, it was England who are still standing, the goal that took them there one of those moments you could see unfold and may well be watching for years, Stanway striding forward and letting fly … her shot tore through the air and took a whole country with it, the party swinging now.
Sid Lowe

An England fan replicates the Ellen White celebration.
A Spain fan.
England fans buy ice creams outside the stadium before the match.
England fans wearing shirts with the names of Ellen White and Fran Kirby look on outside the stadium.
A fan holds a sign of support for England prior to the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 Quarter Final match between England and Spain.
England goalkeeper Mary Earps holds onto the ball whilst under pressure from Marta Cardona of Spain.
Lucy Bronze of England looks on.
Esther Gonzalez of Spain celebrates after opening the scoring.
Ella Toone scores England’s equaliser in the quarter-final against Spain
Fans watch the match during the Women’s Euro 2022 quarter-final match between England and Spain
Georgia Stanway of England celebrates with team-mates Lauren Hemp and Lucy Bronze after scoring their team’s second goal.
Spain’s goalkeeper Sandra Panos in action with England’s Alex Greenwood and goalkeeper Mary Earps
Spain’s Laia Aleixandri and Ona Batlle react after the match.
England’s Mary Earps and Millie Bright celebrate after the match.
A young fan reacts after receiving the shirt of Ellen White of England.
England’s Alessia Russo scores their third goal with an outrageous backheel.

Semi-final: 26 July, Bramall Lane – England 4 Sweden 0 (Mead 34, Bronze 48, Russo 68, Kirby 77)

GOAL! England 3-0 Sweden (Russo 68)

68min Alessia Russo has scored the most outrageous goal! This is spine‑tingling stuff! Walsh and Kirby sliced Sweden apart, with Kirby putting the chance on a plate for Russo. She hit her shot straight at Lindahl, when she should have scored. Thank goodness she didn’t, because what happened next was incredible. Russo charged after the rebound, muscled Seger off the ball and produced a sudden backheel that went through the legs of the keeper. That is an amazing goal.

71min I’m still reeling from that goal. The imagination, the chutzpah, and the noise – a different kind of roar, a delirious fusion of “Get in!” and “WTF!”

GOAL! England 4-0 Sweden (Kirby 77)

77min I think it’s safe to say that England are going to Wembley. Fran Kirby, who has been close to her mischievous best tonight, gets in on the act. It came from a throw-in on the right, with Mead poking a quick, clever pass into the path of Kirby as she ran beyond the defence. Kirby curled a first‑time chip over Lindahl, who got two hands on the ball but could only push it over her head and into the net.
Rob Smyth

England fans cheer as the England coach goes past ahead of the Women’s Euro 2022 semi-final between England and Sweden.
England fans enjoy the pre-match atmosphere at Bramall Lane.
Fans at the screening of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 match between England and Sweden in Trafalgar Square, London.
Sweden fans sing and march to Bramall Lane stadium.
The England players line up ahead of the Euro 2022 semi-final between England and Sweden.
England fans celebrate after Beth Mead scored their side’s first goal.
England fans celebrate after Lucy Bronze scored England’s second goal.
Alessia Russo of England celebrates after scoring her side’s third goal.
England’s Fran Kirby celebrates scoring her side’s fourth goal of the game.
Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl appears dejected after failing to stop England’s Fran Kirby from scoring her side’s fourth goal of the game.
Supporters in the Trafalgar Square fanzone celebrate after Fran Kirby scored England’s fourth goal.
Rachel Daly and Leah Williamson celebrate England’s semi-final victory over Sweden.
Ellen White of England celebrates in the middle of a team huddle as England celebrates their side’s semi-final victory over Sweden.
Rachel Daly of England celebrates with her Mum following her team’s victory.
Chloe Kelly celebrates scoring England’s second goal of the game.

Final: 31 July, Wembley – England 2 Germany 1 aet (Toone 62 Kelly 111; Magull 79)

Ecstasy. Records tumbled, emotions raged and hearts burst as England, with a first international goal from Chloe Kelly, defeated the eight-time champions Germany to secure a first major trophy for the Lionesses – and England’s first since 1966.

Ella Toone’s stunning second-half chip over Merle Frohms looked to have been enough but Lina Magull’s 79th‑minute strike forced extra time. With penalties looming ominously, Kelly pounced, turning in from close range to steal the headlines after battling back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury that ended her Olympic dream and threatened her European one. Whipping her shirt off in celebration, replicating the historic image of the USA forward Brandi Chastain in the 1999 Women’s World Cup final that helped the game explode in the US, Kelly pointed to the revolution that the Lionesses have kickstarted in England.

From there, buoyed by the goal and the raucous crowd, England pushed to put on a show and seal the deal. It was gutsy, exhausting and exhilarating, tears flowed and England brought it home.
Suzanne Wrack

Fans before the Euro 2022 final between England and Germany at Wembley.
A potential handball from Leah Williamson of England Women was referred to VAR but no penalty was given.
England’s Ella Toone scores their first goal.
Germany fans in Berlin react as England’s Ella Toone scores their first goal.
Germany’s players celebrate the equalising goal scored by Lina Magull.
Supporters react to the action on the big screen at Trafalgar Square as they watch the Euro 2022 final.
Chloe Kelly scores the winning goal for England in extra time during the Womens Euros 2022 final match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium on July 31st 2022 in London.
England’s Alex Greenwood and Lotte Wubben-Moy celebrate victory as Germany players look dejected.
Alessia Russo of England celebrates victory on the final whistle.
Ella Toone and Alessia Russo of England celebrate victory on the final whistle.
England football fans celebrate in Trafalgar Square at full time as England win Euro 2022.
Leah Williamson and Millie Bright of England lifts the Euro 2022 trophy.
Frank Kirby. England’s players celebrate after winning the Euro 2022 final.
Ellen White. England’s players celebrate after winning the Euro 2022 final.
England’s manager Sarina Wiegman and player Beth Mead celebrate after winning the Euro 2022 final.
A detailed view of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 winners medal after the final whistle.
Players of England celebrate with their fans.
Alessia Russo and Ella Toone celebrate after winning the Euro 2022 final.
England winning goalscorer Chloe Kelly has a selfie with her family and her winners medal .
Chloe Kelly has a lie down in front of (from left to right) Lauren Hemp, Lucy Bronze, Nikita Parris and Demi Stokes as they take in their triumph.
Rachel Daly of England celebrate with their team mates and the Euro 2022 trophy in the changing room.
The England squad pose for a photo during the England Women’s Team Celebration at Trafalgar Square the day after their triumph.