The final of the Women’s Euro 2022 pitted the home side of England facing eight-time winners Germany.
Alexandra Popp was ruled out for Germany, with the Lionesses taking charge over the opening 10 minutes. They had a couple of half chances, while Germany had a shot blocked by Lucy Bronze. Both sides were growing into the game as the first half went by. England were in real danger from a corner, before scrambling to somehow keep the scores level. The absence of Popp was a big blow for Germany who were looking a little toothless in attack.
Ellen White had the best chance of the half just before halftime. Beth Mead’s cutback from the right found the striker whose left-footed striker just cleared the crossbar. That was about all from the first half as there was little to separate the two sides in the final.
The second half saw Germany step up a gear, getting more adventurous in their forward play. England were having to drop deeper and start from the back as the hour went by. However, it was the home nation who suddenly struck. Keira Walsh’s defence splitting pass from deep found Ella Toone running in behind. The Manchester United forward stayed calm to lift the ball over the goalkeeper and score the opening goal.
The goal seemed to have spurred Germany on, who were much more active now. They eventually found the leveler 10 minutes from time. A brilliant attack started by Kathrin-Julia Hendrich saw Tabea Wassmuth slide in Lina Magull who finished perfectly at the near post. Neither team could win it in normal time as extra time loomed.
The first period passed by largely without incident as Germany pressed more. England were on the back foot but the Germans could not capitalize. That came to haunt them in the second half as Chloe Kelly scored with 10 minutes remaining after an almighty scramble from a corner.
Germany could not make another late comeback as England held on to win their first major international trophy in decades.
Here are three key takeaways from the match:
England do it the hard way
The Lionesses started off brilliantly but fell second-best as the game went on. Germany started exerting themselves, but it was England who took the lead. Walsh’s moment of brilliance saw Toone score one of the goals of the tournament. However, they were undone by a lack of defending down the left flank as Magull equalized. The extra time began poorly with England huffing and puffing to win every ball. Eventually, it took a corner kick and Kelly’s predatory instincts in front of the goalkeeper to retake the lead.
Germany finally fall
The eight-time winners lost for the first time in the Euros final, but not without a fight. The absence of Popp was hugely felt in the beginning as Germany rarely threatened. However, they started asserting themselves and it took a brilliant pass to unlock their defence. Nevertheless, Germany roared back with Magull’s smart finish and they were favourites for extra time too. Despite bossing the opening 15 minutes, Germany eventually fell behind to Kelly’s great play inside the penalty box.
History for England
Not since 1966 had England won a major international trophy. The men’s team fell in the final at Euro 2020 last year. It was the women’s team who finally broke the shackles by defeating the almighty German powerhouse. This would surely go down as one of the biggest moments in the history of English football.