Women’s EURO 2022: England set to avenge 2009 final defeat in Germany rematch

A total of 487,683 fans attended the games after the two semi-final matches, more than double the previous record of 240,055 fans set at Euro 2017 in the Netherlands.

And that’s without taking into account the historic attendance expected at Wembley Stadium during Sunday’s final. Around 87,000 fans will gather in the home of English football, breaking the current attendance record for a Euro final – male or female – or 79,115 set in the 1964 final between Spain and the Soviet Union at the Bernabeu at the Bernabeu. Madrid.

UEFA, the governing body of European football, reports that almost 100,000 children attended Euro 2022 matches, and 47% of all fans are women.

Of course, it helps a lot that home supporters have been lucky enough to watch what is arguably the most talented England women’s team of all time.

An 8-0 thrashing of the dangerous Norwegian team, just two places behind England, and a 4-0 defeat of Sweden, the second-best team in the world and a team that England had previously beaten only three times, will go down in history as some of the most attractive in the history of the lionesses.

But the path to the final was not always easy. England struggled to find their rhythm in a tough debut victory over Austria before having to go all the way in a second leg victory over Spain in the quarter-finals.

Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp celebrate their 8-0 victory over Norway.

However, England will certainly be happy to be tested before the most difficult match. Germany boasts a rather outstanding European Championship record, winning eight of the 12 championships it has played and ruling the Euro crown for 22 years before being defeated in the quarter-finals in the Netherlands five years ago.

Head coach Sarina Wigman, who led her native Netherlands to victory at Euro 2017, understands how important Sunday’s win for England can be for women’s football in the country.

“I think we have already inspired the country,” she told reporters on Friday. according to Reuters. “You know when you win a big tournament it really matters and I would be very proud of that. But I don’t think beyond that. In most cases, you don’t realize the impact until probably 15 years later.

“We approach this game the same way we approach any other game we’ve played. We are not talking about the rivalry between England and Germany, we want to show how good we are and play our best game.

“This team has so much zeal to win and so much resilience. We want so badly to show that we are the best again and show our best game. It’s something we’ve been trying to do all along and then hopefully lead us to victory.”

‘Nothing to lose’

Alexandra Popp, who became the star of the German national team, scoring six goals in five matches at this Euro, is one of the best stories of the summer for well-being.

The 31-year-old missed the Euros in 2013 and 2017 due to injury and for a while it looked like she might miss the championship due to a knee injury last year, but Popp was finally able to compete when the tournament was postponed a year. due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She certainly made up for lost time and was visibly thrilled after scoring a goal in the first win over Denmark, kneeling down and covering her face with her hands.

Alexandra Popp's six goals at Euro 2022 is a record in the history of one tournament.

Popp’s six Euro 2022 goals, matched only by England’s Beth Meade, equal the previous best single Euro result set by compatriot Inka Grings in Finland in 2009.

“I think the pressure is more on the English side precisely because this is happening in their own country,” Popp told reporters at a press conference on Friday. We know that since 2011 [when Germany hosted the World Cup]suddenly everyone expects something from you.

“We have nothing to lose. With this attitude, we can enter the game for free.”

There seemed to be no nerves in the German camp ahead of the final, as Popp appeared at the press conference with a mustache hidden behind a mask. “Hello,” she said, greeting the reporters in a hoarse voice.

Following her victorious performance against France in the semi-finals, German publications FUMS and Der Postillon published satirical reports that men’s national team head coach Hansi Flick had called a new striker to Qatar, accompanied by a photograph of Popp with a mustache and the pseudonyms Alexander Bopp and Alexander Papp.

The striker will no doubt be the biggest threat England will face at Wembley on Sunday and it is likely that a moment of Popp or Mead instinct could decide the game.

These two teams boast brilliant defensive performances this tournament, conceding just one goal each, and it’s likely that their tight defensive lines will be hard to beat in the final.

Alexandra Popp wore a false mustache to the pre-match press conference on Friday.

‘Outstanding’

The quality shown at Euro 2022 only highlights the accelerated growth of women’s football across the continent in recent years as football federations finally start to invest heavily in their teams.

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, who says he is following Germany’s progress closely, said women’s football has “exploded” in recent years.

“I really have to say that I love women’s football, it’s outstanding,” Klopp said at a press conference on Thursday.

“The quality of the tournament is insane. England are playing exceptionally well. I saw three games in Germany, they are also doing well. It’s a really good final – two intense teams facing each other.”

“As much as I love England, in this particular case, my heart is on the side of Germany, but a stronger team can win, and that suits me perfectly. challenge for Germany.

“The most important thing is the face of women’s football, it’s a fantastic game. Women’s football over the past few years has grown dramatically in its development. He is tactically and technically at an incredibly high level. The intensity of the games – physically it’s really, really good and I love watching it.

“England is a slight favorite at home, but Germany has a chance.”

After losing in the men’s Euro final last summer, England fans will be desperate to avoid double grief. But against a German team desperate to reclaim the European crown, this is a very likely possibility.