England forward Beth Mead sees Germany clash as chance to ‘keep people hooked’ on women’s football
Lioness views game against rivals as opportunity to continue building interest in women's side of the sport
The Lionesses, who finished fourth in France, will return to Wembley Stadium for the first time since 2014 when they take on Germany on November 9th.
Phil Neville’s side captivated the nation in their march to the last four of the World Cup, with their dramatic semi-final against the United States attracting the highest live TV audience of 2019 so far with 11.7 million viewers.
A record crowd of 45,619 watched the Lionesses’ first stand-alone game against Germany at Wembley five years ago, and with November’s friendly set to break that number with almost 60,000 tickets already sold, Mead is relishing the opportunity of boosting the profile of the women’s game.
“We’re thrilled to see so many people coming, but we always want more,” the Whitby-born Arsenal forward said.
“The World Cup was a life-changing experience for us. The travel, the matches, the training, the media – everything behind the tournament was amazing and I really enjoyed it.
“Now we want to find a way of keeping people hooked on women’s football. We are hoping to see a fantastic turnout and we want to put on a good show for those fans who do come out and watch.”
The Lionesses’ last match at Wembley may have ended in a 3-0 defeat to two-time World Cup winners Germany, but Mead knows her team have taken major steps in that time
“It’s going to be a tough test, but we’re so excited to compete against them in an amazing stadium,” Mead said. “We didn’t play Germany in the summer, but we watched their matches in France and we know they are a very good team – they have been for years.
“We will do a lot of work around how they play and how individual talents like Dzsenifer Marozsán and Alexandra Popp play.”
Germany reached the quarter-finals of this summer’s World Cup in France, losing 2-1 to eventual third-place finishers Sweden.
“A lot of us know their players and they know ours – sometimes it’s a matter of who does it right on the day. You can talk tactics as much as you like, but if one player turns up, you can’t do much about it. We need to make sure we are the ones on the front foot.”
The impact the Lionesses have made on the British public since the World Cup has surpassed expectations, with nearly 63,000 people attending matches on the opening weekend of the FA Women’s Super League season. Big fixtures are still to come, including the inaugural Women’s Football Weekend, in which Arsenal will play their North London rivals at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in November.
And Mead – who scored a stunner in her side’s opening day victory over West Ham – is confident international and domestic demand will continue to go hand-in-hand over the coming months.
“The next step for women’s football is making the conversion from country to club,” she said. “The Women’s Super League is full-time professional now, which makes it very competitive.
“We’re all excited at Arsenal about the prospect of playing full-time outfits like Tottenham this season – who doesn’t love a derby?
“There will be a lot of quality football on show and it promises to be a very exciting year for all involved.”
England Women host Germany at Wembley Stadium on Saturday November 9th, with the game kicking off at 5.30pm. Tickets are available from £1 for children and £15 for adults at www.thefa.com/tickets.
By Ella Jerman