Women's World Cup: How the Lionesses inspired you

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Highlights: England 1-2 USA

England grabbed the attention of a nation by reaching the Women's World Cup semi-finals, before a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat by holders the United States.

Their game against the USA attracted the highest peak television audience of the year so far, with 11.7m setting a new record for women's football in the UK.

With the whole of England getting behind the team, BBC Sport asked what impact the Lionesses' performances in France had made on you and your family.

'I have an Ellen White poster on my wall'

I have really been inspired by the England team and how they have performed at this World Cup. It has driven me to go out and start taking exercise again and getting myself back in shape, so I can start playing sports again, whether it is football, badminton or tennis.

I now even have a poster of Ellen White celebrating scoring a goal on my bedroom wall. I couldn't have imagined even a couple of months ago that I would own such a poster. I love it.

Lucy Stevens, Norwich

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White taps in after a wonderful move to give England a 2-0 lead

Having followed the men's game for over 50 years I never for one moment imagined I would take to the women's game, for no other reason than I really enjoy the men's game so much.

Let me say how my view has massively changed. It's like it used to be... free-flowing, very little interruption/theatrical disruptions that stop the flow of the men's game.

Even the referee lets the game go where it should go. Women's football brought back to me why I love football so much. The men's game needs to wake up and take note. I will now watch and take a keen interest in the women's game. Well done to all of those pioneers.

Graham Morley, Shipley

For the first time watching a sporting event, I felt part of it as a woman. The support of the fans is phenomenal. I saw young males in the stands respecting women players! I saw young girls looking so proud! I saw respect for talented women players! I felt a sense of pride like no other time in a sporting event!

Loretta Stein, Rio Rancho, USA

'Lionesses inspired me to train as a coach'

What an amazing Women's World Cup - I've been inspired by the talent, professionalism and the competitive nature it has been played in. As a youngster, I was told that girls couldn't play in leagues and I was encouraged to pursue other sports.

Seeing the Lionesses do so well has inspired me to train as a coach 40 years on. I'll take them to the next World Cup and win it with them!

Kath Milne, Leeds

I loved playing football as a young girl and collected football stickers at primary school. But I was never allowed to play with the boys and no other girls liked playing football so I quit and got into gymnastics instead.

I'm so overjoyed to see this changing for girls now. I really went off football generally because I never felt like I could be a part of it properly or enjoy it as a spectator as it was all just men.

I get so excited about watching women's football and I look forward to the day when everyone is talking about it and the pubs are rammed with excited women watching the games together.

Meri, Leicester

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All the goals, drama & tears in the semi-final that had everything

We watched every game from the start. We have an eight-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son who loved the men's World Cup. We wanted them to realise that there is no difference between the men's and women's game.

To our detriment, we knew little apart from the stars but we have learned and really got behind it. The kids have loved it. And boy, the Lionesses did the country proud. We will be looking for tickets to the Euros in 2021.

Will, Newcastle

As someone who co-runs an after-school junior girls' football club (25-plus girls training), this has been absolutely fantastic to see broadcast on mainstream TV and accessible to everyone.

I know some of the girls have been watching and this will hopefully inspire them to aim higher. I remember years ago when I was junior age watching the men's game on mainstream TV, that's what got me into the game, supporting and then playing on reaching my late teens (girls were not allowed to play at school back then).

Lionesses, you have done us proud and you can hold your heads up high.

Claire, Handforth

Watching the Women's World Cup has been amazing and has made me more determined to be a footballer. I play for West Ham girls Under-12s and this is my third season.

I have loved football since I could kick a ball at the age of three. The ladies played some nice football and other teams have been good too.

Zahirah Talukdar, London

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Highlights: Norway 0-3 England

I met with friends on Tuesday to watch the semi-final as we ate our Indian takeaway at a table in front of the TV.

We became more enthralled with the game as it progressed and were cheering at the end.

Mark Robertson, Sutton Coldfield

'I've bought tickets for the next home game'

The players have inspired my 11-year-old daughter - who plays for her school and a local club - in a way I never could.

The first thing I did after the semi-final was buy tickets for the next home game at Wembley, because I want her to see more of them.

From a dad's perspective, they are amazing role models. I also had loads of old mates exchanging messages during the game, completely caught up in it. A subtle point, perhaps, but one that I think reveals a real shift in the way the women's game is perceived.

Peter Ratcliffe, St Albans

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Steph Houghton's post-match reaction following England World Cup exit

Women's football continues to grow. One area that nobody has focused on is social media use. In line with the emergence of fans creating or joining Facebook and Twitter forums separate to each club, there are virtually no outlets for women's fans to join with banter or opinion.

That's a great part of interaction with any sport, and it is heavily ignored or just not considered as it really ought to be. For the sport to go one better, it needs its social media connection to be part of people's every day consumption.

Go to any club's Twitter or Facebook feed, especially outside of the WSL, and there are virtually no fans comments compared to the thousands within the men's game. More needs to be done to promote women's football in this direction by authorities and clubs.

Paul Topliff, Derby

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