England fans get up at crack of dawn to welcome Lionesses at airport but heroes are taken through hidden exit


ENGLAND fans have flocked to Heathrow Airport to welcome the Lionesses home from Australia.

Passionate supporters woke up at the crack of dawn to give England stars a heroes’ welcome back to home soil.

News Group Newspapers ltdFans travelled from all over the country to welcome stars home[/caption]

News Group Newspapers ltdPassionate Lioness superfans came armed with homemade signs[/caption]

PAEngland supporters flocked to Heathrow to welcome home the Lionesses[/caption]

PASarina Wiegman’s side departed Heathrow Airport through a hidden exit[/caption]

PAFans brought flags and scarves as they aimed to cheer up the Lionesses[/caption]

SplashDownbeat England stars departed Sydney Airport yesterday[/caption]

Fans travelled to Heathrow from all over, with one couple driving from Colchester in the early hours and a mother and daughter making the early trip from Coventry.

But Sarina Wiegman’s side are understood to have departed Heathrow from a hidden exit, meaning that fans will not get to see their favourite stars.

Loyal supporters only got to see their heroes’ luggage, which was swiftly loaded onto a van.

The Lionesses defeated the likes of Nigeria, Colombia and Australia before falling just short against Spain in Sunday’s final.

Olga Carmona’s 29th minute strike settled the Sydney showpiece occasion, with Spain winning 1-0 despite controversy surrounding their manager Jorge Vilda.

Regardless, the Lionesses return to the UK as heroes for their efforts.

England stars were left heartbroken upon the final whistle in Sydney.

Wiegman did her best to rouse her players before they collected their runners-up medals, delivering a speech in an on-field huddle.


But the likes of Alessia Russo, Millie Bright and Mary Earps were among those left devastated.

Russo was again seen in tears at Sydney Airport as the Lionesses prepared to fly home.

The Arsenal forward was substituted at half-time of the final.

Wiegman opted to replace Russo with Lauren James, who was making her return from a two-game suspension.

While Rachel Daly was also hooked for Chloe Kelly.

Spain continued to dominate, but missed the chance to make the game safe when Earps denied Jennifer Hermoso from the penalty spot.

After the match, Vilda was seen awkwardly trying to celebrate among his players, amid remaining tension within the Spanish group.

While Spanish FA chief Luis Rubiales inexplicably kissed Hermoso on the lips – with the attacking midfielder saying “I did not enjoy that”.

Rubiales has since admitted to making a “mistake”.

Wiegman, meanwhile, is being targeted by the Netherlands’ men’s national team.

The 53-year-old earned 99 caps for her country between 1987 and 2001.

She then went on to manage their women’s team between 2017 and 2021, before taking the England job.

After Sunday’s defeat, Wiegman insisted that she has “no regrets” over the occasion.

The England boss said: “I have no regrets.

“I think we gave everything. The players gave everything. We tried different tactics. I also have to give credit to Spain.

“I think they were the team over the whole tournament who played the best football.”

PAWiegman, 53, is in demand following England’s run to the final[/caption]

England stars were left devastated after their defeat to SpainRex

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