TEDDINGTON, England. England training on Friday at the team’s base was the most intense.

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According to a veteran Jill Scott and others who were there, it was the most full throttle in the last nine weeks. The gear flew by itself – Scott felt the full power of one on one with Millie Brightbye Georgia Stanway also stuck one on it. “Her tackles in this tournament were phenomenal, so I’ll take some points for that,” Scott said.

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Sunday is the big final – the Euro 2022 final against Germany, to be exact (Live at 12:00 pm ET on Sportzshala and Sportzshala+) – and this means that coach Sarina Wigman has very few opportunities to impress and make her rethink the choice of another unchanged team, so it does not make sense for players to leave something in reserve.

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Scott, 35, is the most experienced of the group and embodies the team’s goals. She was on the bench most of the time, but she was used as a substitute in her eighth major, along with two Olympics. The reception she is receiving is a testament to what she has done for the game.

Many in this England team speak of the 2009 team that made it to the final with awe – they remember watching that final broadcast in Finland and seeing England lose 6-2. These are the most recent legends of women’s sports – they even have rooms in their hotel in southwest London named after them – those who are immortalized on YouTube and who have influenced modern culture.

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But there’s a surprising generational crossover in Scott: she’s been around through a time of poor funding, tight league crowds and inappropriate uniforms. As she talks about what it’s been like to be an England international for the past 15 years, what she’s been through and how she’s seen the game unfold before Sunday’s final, you’re listening. This goes for some of the younger players who have been tinkering with her brain this week.

“They want to learn about the history of the game,” Scott said. “I keep telling them that getting to the finals is not the norm, it was a long time ago. But they are ready for it. The lust and determination they show is out of this world.” Then comes the disclaimer: “However, you don’t want to put too much pressure on them.”

This is the whole essence of this group – they are aware of their multi-level mission. Not only do they want to win on Sunday and become European champions, but in the process they want to inspire children who look to build on the foundations laid by previous generations – from those who fought for the right to play back in 1972 when the ban on women’s t-shirts. football was picked up, throughout the game it became more and more popular and suited to the current group.

Each of them is compelling in their own right, and when they talk about heritage, it’s not corporate language – you feel like it’s inherent in them. They know how important it is to look at role models and be themselves. Take Lotte Wubben Moy. She hasn’t played these Euros yet, but she also contributed to that legacy. Players such as Wubben-Moy, Beth England, Ellie Roebuck and Hannah Hampton had not yet played at camp, but they were all there for breakout sessions the day after the match. These players deep in the team played an important role in the preparation of the starting XI.

After Tuesday’s match in Sheffield, when Wubben-Moy took part in team celebrations, she spotted a group from the education and social inclusion charity Football Beyond Borders. She gave them her match shirt and asked them to give it to someone worthy. Elsewhere, super deputy Alessia Russo chose 10-year-old Nancy from her old Bearstead football club and gave the youngster a jersey. All decisions are made in the moment, but those that will leave a huge mark. The players talked about this before the start of the tournament.

“The most important thing Sarina said was at the very beginning: ‘Play as the little girl who wanted to be in our shoes,’” Stanway said. “Therefore, I will play for a girl who wanted to play from the very beginning, went to training, she liked it, she dreamed of being in our position. Yes, play for her.

Legends like Scott can’t help but feel a pang of nostalgia for what used to be. Scott experienced heartbreak from the 2009 final but more often than not reminisces about missed opportunities, starting with their 2017 European Championship quarter-final loss to the Netherlands and England’s exit from the 2019 World Cup semi-finals to the U.S. women’s team.

This group? Well, she does not want to compare generations and their quality, but she loves this group.

“Speaking solely of this team, I see the likes of Kira Walsh and she is such a talented player,” Scott said. “People tell me all the time when they go to a tournament, ‘You’re playing against the best players in the world.’ But I play with them every single day in training, I sincerely believe in it.

“What people don’t see is their dedication – their whole life is focused on becoming better players. The combination of experience and youth was also good, but we have a special group. The passion and joy we have for football unites us all.”

Listening to England on Friday, you wouldn’t think they were under pressure. Stanway was one of the stars of this tournament, and when she allows herself to dream about the final, she has two thoughts in her head: first, she wants to win, and second, she wants to hug her parents for the first time. after six weeks.

Stanway’s thoughts are symbolic of the group—each member has collective and individual motivations for Sunday. Together they want to end the wait. Individually, they all overcame their own hardships on and off the field and grief to be here.

Take the goalkeeper Mary Earps. She once thought her international days were over. She was the third pick in 2019 and then saw two other goalkeepers get ahead of her after that World Cup. She’s had those dark moments where thoughts of failure seeped into her head, but she’s stuck with it – and here she is – the resounding first choice.

“I don’t think I really want to go back in time,” she said after England’s victory over Sweden. “I really love what I’m doing now, I love being part of this team and I love every minute.”

Beth Mead he had grief over missing out on the team at the Tokyo Olympics; captain Leah Williamson played just six minutes at the last World Championship. Neither of them was going to let it happen again.

There are also off-field struggles that have been overcome, such as Fran Kirby, who has been sidelined for the last couple of years due to heart disease and then fatigue. Yet here she is gearing up for the final after her incredible semi-final performance against Sweden. Chloe Kelly spent 11 months due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury but returned in time.

And there are those who want to make amends for the previous disappointment in the England jersey. For those who have experienced heartbreak from previous tournaments, such as Ellen White, the emotions were too strong after Wednesday’s match.

When Scott talks about her previous experiences, you can hear her voice tremble slightly as she talks about the importance of heritage and those who have worn this shirt before her and will wear it in the future. But then comes this competitive advantage and attention to not missing this moment and what she can personally influence this weekend.

“We really want to inspire the nation,” Scott said. “We have ticked all these boxes. As I said, all the players who left earlier put on this jersey, the learning experience that we had as players is really for everyone, on Sunday.

“Everything. Volunteers who just came and helped local women’s teams, those who are still doing it, those who just love the game. I see reporters here, and I’ve seen them here for the last 16 years. and they do it just for the love of the game. I hope everyone knows that on Sunday, if we’re going to lift this trophy, they all put their hands on it too.

“We have earned the right to have the team go there on Sunday and enjoy it. It’s been an incredible journey so far and hopefully there’s one more big tick left to make.”