THE Lionesses have truly been a breath of fresh air this summer.

They have played football with a level of skill that will have surprised, and impressed, some sceptical men, and they have scored some quite brilliant goals through our own Beth Mead and the audacious Alessia Russo whose back heel will be talked about for years to come.

The Lionesses really are inspirational for the next generation of young women. It is great to see young girls dancing and singing in the stands in support but, most importantly, the players are sending out the message that physical activity is for everyone. Physical activity is cool. It is nothing to worry about, and at a time of our obesity crisis, that is so valuable.

It is to be hoped that schools, which have in many cases been surprisingly reluctant to let girls play football, will seize this opportunity for equality at the start of the new term.

Then there’s the Lionesses’ attitude. You don’t see hordes of them surrounding the referee and using foul language in a futile attempt to get her to change her mind. You don’t see the histrionics that at times make the men’s professional game laughable and, by and large, you don’t see the same outrageous attempts to con the referee (although England’s penalty against Spain was a bit of a deliberate tumble).

And you don’t see them spitting. Well, not much.

So let’s hear the Lionesses roar tomorrow – they are a credit to the nation in so many ways.