Sat, 20 Aug 2022

An England football team claimed its first international tournament for nearly 60 years when the women's side overcame Germany 2-1 to win the 2022 European championships.

England started brightly in front of a fiercely partisan crowd of 87,000 at Wembley against a side that lost skipper and six goal top scorer Alex Popp during the warm-up.

Ellen White headed straight at goalkeeper Merle Frohms after only two minutes and the hosts remained menacing.

But they lost concentration midway through the first-half.

Georgia Stanway and White were booked within a minute of each other as their discipline went awry.

But defender Millie Bright was focused. The 28-year-old hooked off the line in a goalmouth scramble in the England penalty area as Germany threatened to open the scoring.

Chance

White should have hit the target seven minutes before the pause. But the striker sliced over the bar from Beth Mead's cutback.

Germany, seeking a record-extending ninth European title, started the second-half positively.

Three minutes after the restart, Tabea Wassmuth raced clear on goal down the left but shot straight at goalkeeper Mary Earps.

And two minutes later, Lina Magull stabbed just wide of the post with Earps beaten.

But it was England who made the breakthrough after 62 minutes. Keira Walsh sent substitute Ella Toone free on goal and as Frohms came out, Toone lobbed the ball over her into the empty net for her second goal of the tournament.

Comeback

Germany boss Martina Voss-Tecklenburg sent on Nicole Anyomi and Sydney Lohmann to add more zip into their midfield and attacks.

And it was Lohmann who linked up with Wassmuth down the right to set up Magull's equaliser 11 minutes from time.

The Germans finished regulation time looking the more likely to snatch the late winner.

Into extra-time and England appeared the more sapped of the two sides and they did not help their cause by giving the ball away on the rare occasions when they had possession.

In the final 15 minutes, nerves were apparent. England's Chloe Kelly urged the crowd to make some noise as Lucy Hemp prepared to take a corner. They roared their encouragement.

Ugly

And in the ensuing goalmouth scramble from the kick, Kelly stabbed home for her first international goal. The din intensified.

There were nine minutes left.

Sarina Wiegman's team opted to kill off the game with some ugly play down the right wing.

It was effective and handed the Dutch coach her second European crown five years after leading the Netherlands to the title in 2017.

Kelly, who returned from a serious knee injury in April, told British broadcaster BBC: "It's amazing. To come back from injury and score the winner in the final."

The Duke of Cambridge, the president of the English FA, was among the dignitaries, for the presentation ceremony.

Mead claimed the player of the tournament award while Germany's 20-year-old midfielder Lena Oberdorf took the honour as the young player of the competition.

But it was skipper Leah Williamson who hoisted the the biggest prize of all.

Bobby Moore was the last captain of an England team to enjoy such a privilege.

Originally published on RFI

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