At the end of a very indecisive meeting, the English “Lionesses” finally forced the decision against the Germans (2-1 after extra time) to win, in the London temple of Wembley, the first title in their history, in the final of the Euro 2022 football.
The English found the “Frauen Nationalmannschaft” in official competition for the first time since 2009, and a Euro final lost quite largely in Helsinki (2-6). And if Sarina Wiegman’s players seemed favorites at home in front of 87,192 supporters who were mostly won over to their cause, history gave the Germans the role of dream breakers. This had been endorsed a year earlier by the Italians in the final of Men’s Euro 2021, already at Wembley, and already against the England team.
Eight-time European champions, the Germans had so far won all their finals and had never lost to the host country in the continental finals. It is now done, facing a nation which wins, men and women alike, its first trophy since the 1966 World Cup, already at home, already against the Germans.
Popp missed the Germans
And if the famous and decisive “Wembley goal” by Geoff Hurst is still controversial today, so uncertain is it that he crossed the line, the decisive strike with the tip of the foot and full of opportunism from Chloe Kelly (110e) does not suffer from any possible challenge.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg will long regret the absence of her star Alexandra Popp. Executioner of the Blue in the semi-final (2-1), the player left her partners in the warm-up, victim of a “muscle injury” even preventing her from taking her place on the bench. A blow given the influence of the number 11 of Wolfsburg, co-top scorer of the tournament with the English Beth Mead (6 goals each). His replacement Lea Schüller never managed to weigh on the opposing defense, and was even punished with a yellow card for yet another delayed charge on goalkeeper Mary Earps.
“We are not afraid of anyone” said Sarina Wiegman before the match. The Dutch coach took her place in September 2021 on the English bench with the sole mission of winning, she who had led the Netherlands to the European title in 2017 and to the 2019 World Cup final. Her players therefore started the game on foot. floor, with a lot of intensity in the duels and a first hot situation poorly exploited by Ellen White with a header in the box (3e).
Behind, the Lionesses maintained a sterile grip on the game, before seeing the Germans – however harmless – gradually take their heads out of the water, to the point of obtaining the most dangerous opportunity of the first period. On a five-meter scramble after a poorly cleared corner by the English defence, Marina Hegering could have opened the scoring if she had better oriented her foot in front of the goal (25e).
An English salute from the bench
Faced with her sluggish forward line, Sarina Wiegman had the foresight to make two early changes, with the exits of Ellen White and Fran Kirby in favor of “super-subs” (super-subs) Ella Toone and Alessia Russo, five goals and two assists between them since the start of the tournament, each time entering during the match.
And it is indeed Toone who plants the first banderilla, of a pest control concluded with a subtle lob (62e), while England repelled the enemy attacks as best they could. Lina Magull’s equalizer (79e) on a superb collective movement initiated by a Kathrin-Julia Hendrich festival along the touchline brought back bad memories at Wembley, the scene of another breathtaking extension. And if the extra thirty minutes delivered very little in the game, England were able to finish the job, once again thanks to the quality of their bench.
Entering in place of the best English player of the tournament, Beth Mead, Chloe Kelly knew how to keep a cool head, from the top of her 24 years, to carry the thrust of a goal full of opportunism with the tip of her foot (110e). In total, seven English goals came from substitutes during this Euro. “A tournament is never won by eleven”, reminded the World French international Louisa Nécib. Tonight, a whole country wins and should celebrate this first title until the end of the London night.