My 3 Thoughts on the England-Germany Euro Final
LONDON — England beat Germany 2-1 after extra-time in the Euro 2022 final here on Sunday before a Euro record crowd of 87,192 at Wembley Stadium. Here are my three thoughts on the game:
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• Chloe Kelly, meet history. At a moment when nearly the entirety of Wembley was dreading what might happen in a penalty-kick shootout (not usually England’s thing, especially against Germany), Kelly made sure they wouldn’t happen by scoring the game-winner during a goalmouth scramble after a corner kick. Kelly’s first shot was saved by German keeper Merle Frohms, but the Man City forward stuck with it and hit it home to send the crowd into raptures. Kelly celebrated by ripping off her shirt and running wildly toward her teammates in her sports bra, and anyone in the U.S. who was watching couldn’t help but think back to Brandi Chastain doing the same thing in 1999. As has been the case in much of the tournament, England’s depth ended up making a huge difference in the game. Kelly and fellow second-half sub Ella Toone scored both of England’s goals, and England was more dangerous after the subs started coming into the game. (If there had been another game, I would have wanted to see Alessia Russo start up front instead of Ellen White.) But if you’re Sarina Wiegman, England’s coach, who started the exact same lineup in all six Euro games, you could also argue that it’s a killer for your opponent when you can bring on players with the quality that England has. There are a lot of them for the deserved European champions.
• Germany missed Alexandra Popp. You hate to see any injury remove a player from a major final, but Germany losing Popp to a pregame warmup injury was especially cruel. Popp had scored in every game of this tournament, including both of Germany’s goals in the 2-1 semifinal win over France. Germany just wasn’t as dangerous in front of goal with Lea Schüller in Popp’s place, but there was more to it than that. Popp sets the tone for Germany with her hell-bent ruthlessness, constant energy and fear she strikes in opponents. She’s a big reason why Germany’s press is so effective, and it just wasn’t the same without her. (Surprisingly, England was the better pressing team on Sunday.) Popp had put in so much work to come back from injury and be arguably the most influential player of this tournament. The final was diminished without her.
• The referee could have done a better job to prevent an overly physical game. Frankly, I was surprised that Stéphanie Frappart of France, the world’s top female referee, didn’t get the final and the job was given instead to Kateryna Monzul of Ukraine. Unfortunately, Monzul didn’t do nearly enough early in the game to set the tone that rough-housing wouldn’t be allowed. Literally the first entry in my game notes from the second minute was: “Ref letting GER be physical early.” And it only continued from there. Monzul giving only three yellow cards in the first half—two of them to England!—while Germany was chippy the entire time was about three cards too few, and it was stunning that Germany’s Lena Oberdorf didn’t draw a yellow until the 57th minute. This game had too many instances of players ending up on the ground due to rough play, leading to too many stoppages, and while Germany deserved the majority of the blame for that, Monzul deserved some too.
What are your thoughts on the game? You can join the discussion in the comments below.
Popp might’ve made a difference. She was ruthless the whole tournament.
Chloe Kelly will never have to buy either a drink or a meal in England until the day she dies.
People are so short sighted. England did well AND they also had perhaps the luckiest single tournament run ever. home tournament where the visiting nations have to travel to your country with COVID rampant there right now and live within those conditions and whats happened? Klara Bühl's name not even uttered here but she was lost in this match due to positive Covid and would have starred for them on that forward line *and then* during warmups, Popp goes down minutes before the final. it would have been nice to see them play a full strength Germany. and you can do that all the way through the KO rounds. this England midfield *still* does not match up well to the US midfield and who replaces an aging Bronze on the wings for the England is a big question ahead of next years WC. The only obvious position of concern for the US would be our outside backs containing Hemp / Kelly next year, otherwise the advantage is still there for the US head-to-head across the lines. O'hara cannot start against a Hemp or Kelly, for instance, without getting utterly destroyed for pace. but with Fox/Dunn projected to be there, I am hoping that KOH isn't even a consideration. can't wait to see it, whenever it happens anyway. Now that European countries are pretty much back to acting like covid is done, we should see some high level friendlies scheduled for the US after two years of scheduling what they could with countries outside of Europe.