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David Beckham hit with backlash over message to Lionesses in World Cup

Jess Hardiman

Published 
| Last updated 

David Beckham has been hit with backlash after sharing a message of encouragement to the Lionesses as they prepared for their semi-final against Australia today.

The English side landed their place in the Women's World Cup final after beating hosts Australia 3-1 in Sydney today.

Naturally, their entire country is behind them – including footballing veteran David Beckham, who played for the male squad for 13 years between 1996 and 2009.

The lionesses won 3-1. Credit: SAEED KHAN/Contributor/Getty
The lionesses won 3-1. Credit: SAEED KHAN/Contributor/Getty
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He sent the team a message of support in a video posted on the official England Instagram page, which was captioned: “A very special message for our @lionesses ahead of their #FIFAWWC semi-final!

“Thanks for your support, @davidbeckham (and Harper!).”

In the clip, Beckham said to the camera: “Hey girls!

“I just wanted to say, wow. What a tournament it’s been so far. It’s been so much fun to watch and we’re all so proud as a nation of what you’ve achieved already.

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“Seeing you girls play as a team, it’s been really incredible. So continue to do so, good luck in this next game, and just know that our whole nation is behind you, as always. And good luck.”

He shared a message of encouragement to the team. Credit: Instagram/@england
He shared a message of encouragement to the team. Credit: Instagram/@england

He then panned the camera round to 11-year-old daughter Harper, who was sitting on the other side of the room.

“Good luck, Lionesses!” she said, waving.

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“And there’s Harper!” Beckham continued.

“Keep inspiring these girls because it’s incredible to watch, and I am very, very happy that you're doing it for this one.

“Good luck, girls!”

Daughter Harper also shared her best wishes. Credit: Instagram/@england
Daughter Harper also shared her best wishes. Credit: Instagram/@england
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While many social media echoed his sentiment in the comments, some picked up on his use of language – criticising Beckham for referring to the team as ‘girls’.

“Not sure that the right way to start the video,” one fumed.

Someone else agreed: “They're women David. Women!”

Another said: “They are women. Please stop calling them girls!!!”

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A fourth commented: “It’s WOMEN not girls.”

A fifth added: “’Girls’? Isn’t this a team of adult women?”

However, some people stuck up for Beckham, arguing that many people also tend to refer to male teams as ‘boys’, too.

One person wrote: “OMG! Everyone on here taking issue with him referring to the team as ‘girls’ must not have grown up as sports fans, because we refer to the adult MEN in our cricket, football and rugby teams as ‘BOYS’! Not everything has to be interpreted as a slight against women or anti-feminist.”

Another chimed in: “I'm amazed reading the negative comments from people instead of appreciating his well wishes. AND WOMEN ARE GIRLS no matter what age they are.... it's just an endearing term, that's all folks!!!”

Topics: Celebrity, Sport, David Beckham, Football

Jess Hardiman
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