England Denmark game Women's World Cup

‘It’s going to be tough’: Lioness legend reveals pressure on England at Women’s World Cup

A repeat of last summer’s Euro victory may not be so easy

Last summer felt like poetry. The air was hot, the pints were cold and the Lionesses won the Euros in a dramatic 2-1 extra-time victory against Germany to bring it home for the first time since 1966. The Women’s World Cup, comparatively, got off to an underwhelming start— a 1-0 retaken penalty win against Haiti.

“It’s going to be tough,” Everton and England player Toni Duggan tells The Tab ahead of the squad’s next match against Denmark on Friday. “There are some hugely talented players and teams that will test the Lionesses but we also have a talented squad to manage those tests,” she says. “Not to mention huge support from across the nation which will really rally the girls on.” 

England Denmark Women's World Cup

Credit: BPI/Shutterstock

Of the expectations hanging over the Lionesses heads after last summer’s victory, Toni says: “I think there is always pressure in the game, but naturally the girls will be feeling it given their huge win last summer. They played an amazing tournament so there will be many who are looking for much of the same for this summer.” 

To anyone still doubting women’s football as equal to men’s, Toni has a simple message: “Watch it! We have unbelievable talent in women’s football and it’s only right that this is celebrated. Football has given me so much joy and it’s important that we support the women’s game.” 

Unlike last year’s home turf tournament, the 2023 Women’s World Cup is being played in Australia and New Zealand. But this summer matches are broadcast across both BBC and ITV for home fans. And, for the first time ever, there’s a pub in the UK showing exclusively women’s football: The Queen’s Header pop up in Shoreditch.

England Denmark Women's World Cup

The Queen’s Header in Shoreditch

“When I was growing up, women’s football wasn’t televised and it definitely wasn’t shown at the pub,” says Toni of the project with JustEat. “There wasn’t really a space for us to celebrate the women’s game the only way to celebrate was on the pitch.

“There are of course more places to watch women’s football now, especially since the success of the Euros, but it’s crucial we keep that support and momentum going,” she says. “I’m ready for packed out pubs where fans can come together and rally on the girls, just like they did for the Euros! I’m excited to watch my friends play on a world stage and show everyone what they can do.” 

The Queen’s Header pub Just Eat pop up is open until Friday July 28 with all proceeds, plus a further £50,000 investment going to its Feed the Game fund, which aims to inspire and encourage more women and girls to play football. 

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Inside the incredibly vibey Instagrams of the Women’s World Cup England squad 

• This is where the Women’s England team Lionesses went to uni 

• The Love Island super league: Ranking every footballer who’s ever entered the villa

Featured image credit via James Gourley/Shutterstock