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Bank of England’s ‘regrettable’ mistakes fuelled inflation, its former top economist says | Business News

The Bank of England “regrettably” made mistakes that have fuelled inflation in the UK, its former chief economist has told Sky News.

Andy Haldane said the Bank had printed money through its programme of quantitative easing “longer than it needed to” as it tried to help the economy recover from COVID – and also suggested it had acted too slowly to increase interest rates.

While inflation has been coming down from its peak of 11.1% last October, the rate of price rises – which was 6.8% in the year to July – remains high and continues to put a major strain on many households amid the cost of living crisis.

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Hunt: You can’t end ‘misery’ until you get inflation down

Mr Haldane, who stepped down from the Bank in September 2021, also said it was “an evens bet” whether the UK would fall into a recession.

He further criticised what he described as a lack of investment in infrastructure such as hospitals and schools – as highlighted by the classroom concrete crisis this week.

Mr Haldane, who now heads the Royal Society of Arts, made the comments during an interview for Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge, which will be broadcast on Sky News on Tuesday.

When asked about inflation, Mr Haldane said: “It [the Bank of England] kept on printing money for a bit longer than it needed to.

“I think with the benefit of hindsight … we probably did a little bit too much for a little too long. I make no apologies about the greater sway of that easing – that was needed, I think, at the time of COVID to protect jobs and to protect households and to protect businesses.

“But did we persist with that a little longer than we needed to? And did they step on the brakes a little too late – and therefore a little harder now than they needed to? I think that is probably where we find ourselves, regrettably.”

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Inflation: ‘We’re getting poorer’

It comes following criticism of the Bank over its strategy to bring inflation down to its target of 2%.

Its Monetary Policy Committee hiked interest rates for the 14th time in a row last month to 5.25%. But some commentators have warned the UK could tip into a recession if rates remain high.

Mr Haldane described the economy as “pancake-like” and “flatlining for 18 months”, even with the recent upward revisions to the UK’s growth figures.

He added: “The story of the last 18 months remains intact. That is to say, we have been stuck. Growth is absent. That means it would take only the tiniest of tilt for us to enter recessionary territory.”

When asked if recession was still a danger, Mr Haldane replied: “It’s definitely still a danger. I would hope not a sharp recession. But could that rise in the cost of borrowing take the legs from beneath an embryonic recovery? I think it could and that is definitely a risk.

“I’d say it’s an evens bet as things stand.”

On the wider economy, he said there had been “underinvesting in the assets of UK plc” and claimed the concrete crisis in schools had been “foreseeable”.

He added: “We fare poorly when it comes to the amount we save as a country, save as a nation and the amount we invest as a nation. And that’s the main reason why we’re seeing these problems, these fragilities in our infrastructure show up – whether it’s crumbling schools or congested motorways and railways.”

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Education sec watches clip of herself swearing

The Bank of England has defended its strategy to try and bring down inflation, while chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said he is confident it will be halved by the end of the year.

Mr Haldane’s successor as chief economist, Huw Pill, said last week the Bank was determined to “see the job through” – but also admitted he was wary about the risk of “unnecessary damage” being inflicted on employment and growth if interest rates increased too much.

The full interview with Mr Haldane will be broadcast on Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge at 7pm on Tuesday 5 September on Sky News.

England’s Lionesses on historic terrain that can raise women’s football to another level | World News

The final frontier for the Lionesses.

A day for dreams to be fulfilled – as England face their date with destiny and the prospect of becoming World Cup winners.

Fans are scattered throughout the bars of Sydney savouring the magnitude of what awaits on Sunday night against Spain.

“Whether we win or not – as a country and for the Women’s World Cup we’ve won,” one England fan told Sky News, soaking up the pre-final buildup in a bar on Saturday night.

“It’s a massive step for women’s football. But damn I want to win tomorrow. Everything I’ve dreamed of since I was a child.”

Read more:
Follow the final live

England's Lauren Hemp celebrates scoring their second goal against Australia in their semi-final
England’s Lauren Hemp celebrates scoring their second goal against Australia in their semi-final

Dreams of trophies. But contesting such a final, on such a stage as Stadium Australia, seemed just a dream for these players growing up.

“I think it will be the biggest moment in our careers,” England captain Millie Bright said. “It’s obviously a dream come true.”

So it feels for Spain players who grew up only seeing the men’s game with the limelight and investment.

“We have grown up thinking that football was something that didn’t belong to us – there were always obstacles,” Spain captain Irene Paredes said. “It was not our space, or at least that is what they made us feel.”

They know the pioneers of women’s football went generations before.

Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Fans in London gather for Australia v England - BOXPARK Wembley, London, Britain - August 16, 2023 England fans celebrate after Alessia Russo scores their third goal Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra
England fans are hoping to see the Lionesses lift the World Cup trophy for the first time

These Lionesses – along with La Roja – have propelled the game to a new level.

They stand on the brink of being England’s first World Cup winners since the men in 1966.

The teams are bonded through the nation’s footballing history.

Historical challenges

But the Lionesses have had to overcome historical challenges.

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Lionesses to play ‘best game ever’?

Equal billing as footballers was denied by misogyny – with women banned from playing football in England for half a century until the 1970s.

The gender pay gap in the sport remains vast.

By Sunday night, the most successful England team of all time could be the one guided to glory by Sarina Wiegman – the first person to manage two different countries in World Cup finals after losing with her native Netherlands in 2019.

Captain Millie Bright
Captain Millie Bright

Just like at the European Championship, England have swept into the final by winning every game so far at the Women’s World Cup.

Success in Sydney would complete a double a year after lifting European silverware.

But don’t forget how close the Lionesses came to a quarter-final exit from their home tournament – just six minutes from losing.

Spain awaits

Spain stand in England's way
Spain stand in England’s way – and their form has been stunning

And to whom? Spain – the opponents awaiting in Stadium Australia.

But four of that starting line-up are not in Australia after being part of a mutiny against coach Jorge Vilda over demands for a more professional environment.

“Next question please,” he responded when asked about the revolt on the eve of the final.

Of the 15 players who withdrew from consideration for Spain only three returned to the fold for the World Cup – Ona Batlle, Aitana Bonmati and Mariona Caldentey.

Back in July 2022, the Lionesses produced the equaliser against Spain through Ella Toone and went on to secure their semi-final place through Georgia Stanway in extra time.

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England fans: ‘They will bring it home’

Read more:
Where to watch England v Spain final
The stars who might bring home World Cup
King urges Lionesses to ‘roar to victory’

Both players remain part of this run to the final – although Toone’s starting spot owes much to Lauren James being suspended for the last two matches in Australia.

The return of James gives England options.

The Chelsea forward had a team-leading three goals before her last-16 stamp against Nigeria.

Since then, Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo have also made it to three goals.

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England have had to contend with disruption to selection plans caused by injury with captain Leah Williamson and striker Beth Mead lost before the tournament.

But replacement captain Bright has forged a strong three-woman defensive back-line with Alex Greenwood and Jess Carter.

New territory

They are facing a Spain packed with goal threats – even with two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas yet to make her usual devastating impact after recovering from an ACL injury.

Jennifer Hermoso, Alba Redondo and Aitana Bonmati have all notched up a trio of goals each.

But look down the Golden Boot chart and there is the formidable teen force of Salma Paralluelo who has two goals.

Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - England Press Conference - Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia - August 19, 2023 England manager Sarina Wiegman during the press conference REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
Coach Sarina Wiegman

The 19-year-old winger wasn’t even in the squad at Euro 2022 – showing how Spain’s strength just keeps on growing at only their third Women’s World Cup and the furthest they have ever reached.

The Lionesses have made it to the last four at three World Cups by contrast – and that pedigree should count in their favour.

But they have never made it to a final before.

This final represents a power shift as cash and commitment to women’s football in Europe has been accelerated.

This is historic terrain that can raise women’s football to another level in England – and elevate the legendary status of the Lionesses.

Women’s World Cup: England’s Lionesses through to semi-final after beating Colombia | World News

The Lionesses have secured a spot in the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup after beating Colombia 2-1.

Colombia led the match with Leicy Stantos’s goal 44 minutes in after she looped a shot over Mary Earps from the right, but England’s Lauren Hemp managed to equalise just minutes before half time after a mistake from goalkeeper Catalina Perez.

But it was Alessia Russo who secured England’s winning goal 63 minutes in, lobbing the ball into the bottom left corner from inside the penalty area which gave the Lionesses the lead.

England v Colombia – follow live reaction

Shortly after, Colombia’s Perez left the pitch with an injury and was subbed for Natalia Giraldo.

Sarina Wiegman’s team will now face co-hosts Australia in the semi-finals on Wednesday 16 August, with kick off at 11am UK time.

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Lauren Hemp scored England’s first goal in the quarter-final game against Colombia

Colombia were the lowest-ranked team remaining at 25 and had never made it past the tournament’s round of 16.

But this in this tournament their team eliminated world number two side Germany with a 2-1 victory in the group stage and looked to complete another giant-killing here.

For the Lionesses, England’s Ella Toone had stepped in for the suspended Lauren James who was handed a red card for standing on the back of Michelle Alozie in the Lionesses last match against Nigeria which resulted in a 4-2 shootout win.

The tense match comes after Australia secured their spot in the semi-finals this morning following a dramatic penalty shootout with France.

Australia were 7-6 winners after the spot-kicks, which featured seven missed penalties combined.

Cost of living pain still to come for millions despite Bank of England’s rosier outlook | Business News

It is saying something that the Bank of England has just delivered its biggest economic upgrade in the history of the Monetary Policy Committee, yet the UK is still effectively flatlining.

But that is the paradox facing the economy at the moment.

On the one hand, the outlook for the country as a whole is considerably rosier than it was only a few months ago.

If you follow these forecasts you may recall that late last year the Bank said that the UK economy might well face the longest recession in modern history.

Britons face extra £482 per month on mortgage since 2021 – latest updates

But now it has dramatically changed its outlook.

Now it believes that the economy will not shrink at all in any of the coming quarters.

A few months ago it suggested that the UK economy wouldn’t regain its pre-pandemic size for many years; now it believes it will hit that watershed at the end of this year.

Not long ago it thought the unemployment rate would rise above 6 per cent by 2025; now it thinks it will be below 4 per cent.

This is very good news.

The problem is that it’s hard to revel all that much in comparative good news when you look at the absolute numbers.

Good news needs to be put in perspective

Let’s put things into perspective.

Up until a few years ago “trend growth” was above 2 per cent. In other words, in a “normal” year you might expect the economy to grow by maybe 2-2.5 per cent.

Read more:
Bank of England interest rate increased 0.25 percentage points to 4.5%
‘Greedflation’ explored: Are businesses making inflation worse through excessive profits?

Now look at the latest Bank forecasts: growth of a quarter percentage point this year, three-quarters of a percentage point next year, and the same again in 2025.

This is very weak growth.

Now consider what’s happening beneath the surface.

Every household in the country is facing the pain of rising prices, but for some, the impact is worse than for others.

Some especially higher-income households, have considerable savings built up during the pandemic.

Many older households have already paid off their mortgages, to the extent that the proportion of homes without mortgages is higher than ever before.

Yet for those households who do not benefit from these financial cushions, life is tough – and getting tougher.

Why there is more pain to come

Only around a third of the eventual “pain” of higher interest rates has yet been felt, because most mortgage payers have yet to refix their loans onto higher rates.

But that will happen for millions in the coming months.

Moreover, one of the other key changes in the Bank’s forecasts today is that food inflation is likely to be considerably higher in the coming years than previously expected.

While food producers’ costs are beginning to come down, the prices we pay are still rising fast.

Some have characterised this as “greedflation” but economists say these companies’ margins remain compressed.

Even so, even after adjusting for the Bank’s new, less gloomy forecasts, it’s hard to envisage a return of the feelgood factor in the coming months.

The economy is not doing as badly as previously thought – this is a cause for reassurance.

But for most households, the pressures from rising living costs are still intensifying rather than abating.

NHS: England’s top doctor says emergency care will be prioritised during biggest strike disruption to date | Politics News

Emergency care will be prioritised by the NHS next week when strike action by junior doctors will see the biggest disruption of services to date, with thousands of routine appointments postponed.

The industrial action is set to begin on Monday at all trusts in England for 72 hours.

It is the longest continuous period of walkouts to hit the health service in recent months, following strikes by nurses, paramedics and physiotherapists.

However, with around 61,000 junior doctors making up half of the medical workforce and no national derogations having been agreed, the NHS is warning the latest action is expected to see some of the most severe disruption to date, impacting on efforts to cut the record-high waiting list.

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As a result, emergency, critical and maternity care will be prioritised, as well as patients who have waited the longest for elective care and cancer surgery where possible.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, the medical director of the NHS, said: “The NHS has been working incredibly hard to mitigate the impact of this strike.

“While we are doing what we can to avoid having to reschedule appointments, there’s no doubt that disruption will be much more severe than before and patients who have been waiting for some time will face postponements across many treatment areas.

“Where there are postponements, we’ll be trying to re-book as quickly as possible. However, it is vital to attend planned appointments unless told otherwise.

“We have no option but to prioritise emergency and critical care as a matter of patient safety, and we’re asking the public to help us and use 111 online as well as local services like general practice and pharmacies as first points of call, but people should of course always use 999 in a life-threatening emergency.”

The NHS stressed that the measures were needed to make sure safe care continues to be available for those in life-threatening situations.

It said routine appointments and procedures will only be cancelled where unavoidable and patients will be offered an alternative date as soon as possible.

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The warning comes after senior leaders reportedly told the Health Service Journal that ministers have not sufficiently sounded the alarm about the risk to patient harm posed by the strikes.

More than 98% of junior doctors from the British Medical Association (BMA) voted to take industrial action in the dispute over pay and conditions.

Talks between the BMA and Health Secretary Steve Barclay at the start of March did not improve matters, with the union saying the cabinet minister “refused to come forth with any improved offer”.

The BMA says that while workload and waiting lists are at record highs, pay for junior doctors has been cut “by more than a quarter since 2008”.

But the government says pay has increased by a cumulative 8.2% since 2019/20 and further wage increases aren’t affordable at a time of record-high inflation.

Health leaders ‘preparing for absolute worst’

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NHS Crisis: ‘Past breaking point’

The NHS Confederation, which represents trusts across the country, urged both sides to “show willingness to compromise and bring these strikes to an end without delay”.

It said health leaders are “preparing for the absolute worst” with some taking down 50% of their planned theatre activity and others are opting for 100%.

Elsewhere one large hospital is having to rearrange more than 2,000 outpatient appointments and over 200 non-urgent surgeries next week.

Read more:
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NHS England set to miss two key targets of COVID recovery plan

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “We are disappointed the government and BMA have failed to put a stop to the forthcoming junior doctors strikes, especially after the positive steps that have been made with the other trade unions.”

He added: “… no national exceptions have been agreed to these walkouts, and many trusts will find themselves in a difficult position trying to navigate payment of the BMA’s recommended rate card for consultants when covering the work of junior doctors.

“This means it is likely that disruption to patient services will be like nothing the NHS has seen since industrial action started last December. Thousands of procedures and appointments are likely to be cancelled.”

England’s footballers are coming home – and so is Dave the cat | UK News

Football might not be coming home, but Dave the cat is.

After losing 2-1 to France in the World Cup quarter-final, the England squad began their journey back to the UK, with their furry mascot in tow.

Dave the cat spent time around the players and was adopted by the team, with Manchester City duo John Stones and Kyle Walker pictured with him on most evenings.

Read more:
Three Lions go out to France – as it happened

Dave the cat before leaving Al Wakrah on his way to England, UK to be rehoused. Dave the cat spent time around the England players and was adopted as their mascot during their Fifa World Cup 2022 campaign. Picture date: Sunday December 11, 2022.

Speaking in the build up to Saturday’s game, Walker said: “Dave is fine.

“He had a little scrap with another cat the other night. I think they are fighting over territory and the food. But he’s doing well.

“Hopefully I can stick to my promise that he will come home with us if we were to win the World Cup. Dave’s fine, thank you for asking.”

Now, despite not gaining World Cup glory, the players have decided they will still rehome Dave in the UK.

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England squad arrive home

He left Al Wakrah just two hours after the squad had departed and will first head to a local veterinary clinic.

There he will have a blood test and receive vaccinations, spending four months in quarantine before heading to his new home.

Raheem Sterling to return to England’s World Cup base in Qatar | UK News

Raheem Sterling will return to Qatar to rejoin the England squad ahead of the Three Lions’ clash against France on Saturday.

The Chelsea star travelled home before the last-16 game against Senegal after his family home was broken into.

In a statement, the FA said: “Raheem Sterling will return to England’s World Cup base in Qatar.

“The forward temporarily left to attend to a family matter but is now expected to rejoin the squad in Al Wakrah on Friday (9 December) ahead of the quarter-final with France.”

The 27-year-old England star left the tournament after being told that his home in Surrey had been broken into, with items including jewellery and watches stolen.

His family was not home during the break-in but he wanted to be with them afterwards, as he was concerned about their wellbeing.

He headed back to the UK just before England’s win over Senegal on Sunday.

World Cup: Gareth Southgate leaves himself exposed as England’s dire display reopens old wounds | World News

When the final whistle blew, boos boomed among the England fans at Al-Bayt Stadium.

They had enough.

A 0-0 draw against the Americans so turgid that the referee only added on four minutes – the lowest so far at this World Cup of 100-minute matches.

It seemed the 6-2 rout of Iran was just an anomaly on Monday.

This was the type of dire display England supporters have had to get used to in this year of six winless matches going into the World Cup and relegation in the Nations League.

Once again, Gareth Southgate is feeling the heat – despite leading England to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, and Euro 2020 final. The frustrated fans made that clear with the jeering.

The Three Lions manager said: “People are going to react how they react, and I can’t let that affect how I feel about the team or how the team feels.”

‘We had to show another side’

Too defensive and too boring was the snap reaction of fans filtering out of the stadium.

Southgate accepted some concerns: “We lacked a little bit of zip and quality in the final third, and we weren’t able to open up, to create really good chances.

“But we had to show another side of ourselves.”

Read more:
Which team is predicted to win the World Cup?

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So close: Fans react to England’s best chance

‘There’ll be a lot of noise’

A dismal display he hopes, though, won’t be repeated against Wales on Tuesday in the Group B finale.

Wales have to win to reach the last 16. England can lose 4-0 and still go through.

Not that the fans will accept that after the turgid display against the USA.

Southgate said: “I’m sure there’ll be a lot of noise about the performance.

“But not many teams go through World Cups and get nine points in the group.”

Read more:
The World Cup’s biggest ever upsets

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group B - England v United States - Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar - November 25, 2022 England's Harry Kane reacts after missing a chance to score REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Captain Harry Kane had a disappointing night in front of goal

And still no England team can beat the Americans at a World Cup after failing at the third attempt.

The venue furthest north in Qatar is still only 45 minutes set from Doha.

England looked far more lethargic than their journey time suggested.

Commonwealth Games 2022: England’s women miss out on dramatic 4x400m relay gold after disqualification | UK News

England’s women missed out on a 4x400m Commonwealth relay gold which ended with a dramatic photo finish.

Victoria Ohuruogu, Jodie Williams, Ama Pipi and Jessie Knight appeared to have secured victory by a thousandth of a second ahead of Canada in the final event at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on Sunday.

But while the crowd erupted in celebration, officials were examining footage of the race and spotted a lane infringement.

Williams and Ohuruogu stepped out of their lane during the handover for the second leg.

England's Jodie Williams steps out of lane during the race

Team England Athletics did not appeal the decision.

After reviewing the footage they said that there was an acceptance that an appeal would have had no grounds.

As a result, Canada were upgraded to the gold medal, Jamaica took silver and Team Scotland won the bronze.

More on Commonwealth Games 2022

It meant heartbreak for the English quartet, who went from pure elation following Knight’s incredible dip on the line, to despair.

That news marked the end of day 10 of the competition.

There are 12 further medals to be won on the final day of the Games on Monday and the closing ceremony will round things off in the evening.

Euro 2022: It’s come home! Lionesses deliver England’s first major trophy since 1966 | UK News

England are waking up as the champions of Europe after the Lionesses delivered the country’s first major trophy since 1966.

There were euphoric scenes nationwide last night after the squad beat Germany 2-1 in extra time – with 87,000 supporters at a packed-out Wembley Stadium cheering them on, not to mention millions more at home.

And later today, thousands of fans are set to join in the celebrations at an event in Trafalgar Square, where the team will take part in a live Q&A and lift the Euro 2022 trophy.

Sarina Wiegman has described the victory as an incredible achievement – and her players couldn’t resist storming into the press conference, singing “football’s coming home” at the top of their lungs and dancing on the table.

The England manager, who has won plaudits for her composure throughout the tournament, revealed she had a beer for the first time in years during the celebrations – and plans to take a little time off before beginning preparations for next year’s World Cup.

She thanked the nation for their support, and admitted: “I will need a couple of days to realise what we have done.”

It’s been a flawless journey for the Lionesses – and not only did they score the most goals ever in this tournament, but they only conceded two.

There’s now a firm belief that England’s fairy-tale ending could transform women’s football in the years to come – sparking renewed interest in the game among fans and players alike.

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Fans roar as Lionesses win Euros

“I think these tournaments have done so much for the game but also for society and women in society in England but also across Europe and the world,” Wiegman added.

The Queen also highlighted the significance of the Lionesses’ achievement in a statement, telling the team: “Your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so deservedly earned. You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.

“It is my hope that you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today.”

Read more:
PM, Spice Girls and Three Lions react to Euro 2022 victory
Tears, cheers and jubilation: England’s historic win in pictures

England’s win is ‘life-changing’

Sky’s Adele Robinson described the atmosphere at Wembley Stadium as electric, with one little girl spontaneously screaming: “It was amazing.”

And the girl’s father was in tears too, telling us: “I’ve been watching for the last 40 years and I’ve never seen England win a final. It means so much, it’s enormous. It’s why we wanted to make sure our daughter came and saw.”

The crowd was full of smiles and singing – with children wearing flags as capes. One teenager with “Lionesses” written on her midriff said England’s win felt “life-changing”.

One six-year-old with the England flag painted across her cheeks simply said: “Thank you, that was awesome.”

Chloe Kelly celebrates scoring England's second goal
Chloe Kelly celebrates scoring England’s second goal

A nail-biting finale

Ella Toone gave England the lead in the 62nd minute with a sublime lob after being sent through one-on-one with the German goalkeeper.

The Lionesses were unable to hold on as Germany’s Lina Magull scored a flick-on at the near post in the 79th minute.

But England prevailed in extra time as Chloe Kelly poked home from close range after Germany failed to clear a corner.

England wins

Beth Mead won the Golden Boot after finishing the tournament with six goals – 12 months after she was left out of Team GB’s Olympic squad for the Tokyo Games.

“I can’t believe it,” she said. “Sometimes football puts you down but bouncing back is the best way and that is what we have done.

“I am so, so proud of this team. I love this team and I love this country.”