The group stages of Euro 2022 are over and what a spectacle it has been.
There have been plenty of goals, city-centre takeovers and carnival atmospheres across the nine stadiums that have hosted matches, while attendance records are being shattered.
We asked you to send in your experiences of a tournament that has captured new supporters for women’s football throughout the country.
Here are some of the tales and memorable moments that have been shared…
‘My child’s first game’
England’s opening match against Austria at Old Trafford was watched by 68,871 – the largest attendance for a European Women’s Championship game.
Jack, Bedford: My fiancee is not a big football fan, but she wants to get into the women’s game. We travelled up from Bedford to Old Trafford for the game and did the fan zone before the match which was good. The atmosphere in the stadium was incredible. It was a really family-friendly atmosphere with lots of mixing of the England and Austria fans which was nice to see.
John, Cheshire: We went to the opening game at Old Trafford. It was my daughter’s first football match and my wife’s second. The atmosphere was excellent and the crowd was very family-oriented – a very different vibe from what I’m used to at men’s games. The whole thing was well organised and it was worth the 45-minute wait to get off the car park!
Dan, Crewe: Around 80 of us left Crewe on two coaches to get to Old Trafford for one of the biggest nights in football history. My daughter’s football club, Crewe FC, had arranged the tickets and coaches, resulting in the majority of her under-9’s team sharing the experience. On arrival we walked towards Old Trafford, a ground I had been to many times as a Manchester United season ticket holder. The hustle and bustle, as well as the general buzz around the place, was comparable to a United matchday. The players came out of the tunnel to one of the loudest noises I have heard at a football match – it was deafening! I have never been in a crowd that has sustained a constant noise for so long, I kept thinking ‘this atmosphere will calm down in a minute’ but it didn’t, it was phenomenal. The whole experience was extremely special.
‘One of England’s best performances – and we got the keeper’s gloves’
England’s second game saw them break the tournament record for the biggest win with their 8-0 victory over Norway at Brighton’s Amex Stadium.
Gareth, East Sussex: We were there – history made in Brighton on 11 July and one of the best England performances ever. To top it off, Mary Earps gave my stepson her gloves – he is a goalkeeper and Manchester United fan and he will remember that moment for a very long time. The atmosphere was brilliant -even before kick-off. To me, it went beyond being women’s football to just football. I’ve been to 200-odd men’s matches but this was so family friendly you could just relax and enjoy the game. After the game the players did their lap of honour and Eden went to hold up his sign. Amazingly Mary saw it and came over to give him the gloves. She’ll never know how happy she made this young fan – he was shaking with excitement.
Mark, London: I went to the England v Norway game with a couple of friends, Eilidh and Kerry. They felt the children in attendance really added to the atmosphere, particularly the way they celebrated the eighth goal just as passionately as the first. A couple of young girls near us, who couldn’t have been much more than four, were also the first to strike up a chorus of Three Lions which we really enjoyed. For me, the atmosphere was virtually unparalleled. The crowd was loud throughout and especially positive – a huge differentiator from the men’s game. Of course, the fact it was an 8-0 thrashing probably helped the party atmosphere at that particular match!
Adam, Hampshire: My friends and I had the pleasure of attending England’s 8-0 win over Norway in Brighton. We had predicted a score draw. The match, the atmosphere and the general feeling – even before the goals – was magical. Everyone was kind and in good spirits. Even after the final whistle no-one wanted to leave – wish I had bought more tickets!
‘No hostility among fans’
Euro 2022 has already broken the record for the total attendance at a European Women’s Championship before reaching the quarter-final stage. Fans from across Europe have travelled to support their teams, bringing with them a sea of colour, songs and carnival atmosphere.
Christopher, Darlington: I have been to two matches with my wife, my son (12) and daughter (11). We went to Netherlands v Sweden and France v Italy last weekend. An amazing experience, especially in the Sheffield fan zone. The walk with the Swedish fans to Bramall Lane was something else. The colour, the noise and the overall atmosphere is so different to attending men’s games.
Louie, London: I went to the Spain v Germany game with my dad and stepmum and we all hugely enjoyed it. The atmosphere at the game was brilliant and, while there were large groups from both Spain and Germany, it almost felt like it didn’t matter who won, as the whole evening just felt hugely positive and supportive. There was no hostility, no booing of anthems, no abuse at all, which makes the experience much more enjoyable than most men’s international games I’ve been to. I’m very much looking forward to the other two games we have tickets for.
Robert, Leeds: I attended the opening game at Old Trafford and it was one of the best football games I’ve ever attended, probably only second to a play-off final at Wembley. The crowd was brilliant, getting behind all the players and making fantastic noise. Unlike men’s football, the atmosphere felt nothing but welcoming, there was no hostility.
Michelle, High Peak: I went to the match with my wife – I saw Belgium v Iceland at Manchester City’s Academy Stadium. Before the tournament, Iceland’s Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir had criticised the small stadium, but the fans were so great the atmosphere was amazing. We didn’t know who to support as we were neutrals, but we found ourselves sitting behind a bunch of Belgian fans and their band, who were brilliant. Loads of noise, lots of singing and cheering from before kick-off to the final whistle. We got right behind them. The Iceland fans were fantastic too, doing the thunderclap and singing back and forth across the stands.
Mark, West Yorkshire: We are all loving the Euros and have been to plenty of games, as well as watching them on TV and collecting and completing the sticker album. We have really enjoyed the games so far, as well as the atmosphere in the fan zones before kick-off where we have taken part in the football activities and mingled with fans from all the other countries. My daughter Rosie and son Harry are transfixed by the tournament and my daughter, nine, insists she will be playing at Euro 2029 with her idol Lauren Hemp!
Michael, Nottingham: My son and I went to Denmark v Finland. A Tuesday afternoon in Milton Keynes, I did wonder how many others would be there, but it was a great atmosphere, largely thanks to the thousands of travelling fans singing and chanting. Lots of families with young children – what a fantastic chance for them to see an international tournament.