When Chloe Kelly scored the decisive goal for the Lionesses against Germany and threw off her shirt, it evoked memories of American footballer Brandi Chastain’s iconic World Cup-winning celebration.
“I see you,” Chastain tweeted at Kelly after the stunning extra-time goal. “Enjoy the free rounds of pints and dinners for the rest of your life from all of England.”
In an interview with Sky News, Chastain, who took off her shirt after scoring the decisive penalty against China for the US in the 1999 World Cup Final, congratulated the team’s “huge achievement” and said she had “a big smile on my face” when she saw Kelly running round the pitch in her sports bra in celebration.
“I’ve been a big fan of watching the Euros this year and just to see the amount of talent in this tournament has been phenomenal,” she said.
“To know that 90,000 people sat in Wembley to watch women’s football obviously is a huge achievement for all these players and when I saw the celebration, of course, a big smile on my face and the thought about how her life and the life of all of those players for England will change immediately brought me great joy.”
Discussing her famous victory celebration in July 1999, which became a defining moment for women’s football, Chastain said at the time there “was mostly joy and mostly acceptance” but some criticism.
But she said it “opened it up to a wonderful conversation about the importance, the validity and the need for women’s football to belong on the big stage”.
More on Women’s Euro 2022
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- Women’s Euro 2022
Asked how England’s women’s team can capitalise on their victory going forward, she said “being at the top is very difficult”.
“Winning a tournament like they just did is incredibly exhausting and all-encompassing.
“So going forward is going to be probably as hard as it was to win this match, but the fact that they’ve done it now is a feather in your cap that nobody can take away.”
She added: “For them to be able to know it’s possible gives great confidence to move forward.
“And what it will have done for the countless tens and maybe hundreds of thousands of young girls in England is to give them the dream that it is possible for them.
“And now the future of the women’s league in England and around the world will see that what we’re doing is absolutely worthy and acceptable and we can now all push forward. So the win in England is good for everybody. It is incredibly powerful.”
Chastain also gave her advice to the women’s team, telling them to go forward “with great humility and spread the joy of teamwork and the determination and the hard work it took to get there”.
She urged them “to stay grounded and to stay in the moment of the hard work”.
“And I hope that each one of those players will take pause and really take in what they have accomplished because it is truly phenomenal, and I applaud each and every one of them and say bravo,” she said.
“Like I said in the tweet that I sent out to Chloe Kelly and about the goal that Ella Toone scored, we see you and we see the greatness that you are. Keep doing and being who you are and showing the world of football that you can play too.”