England 1-1 Germany (2-1 aet)

Women’s European Football Championship 2022, Final, Wembley Stadium, 31/7/22.

So, England’s women footballers have done something the men have not. Won a Euros.

This was a tight, absorbing game, fiercely contested between two well organised, well drilled and skillful sides, who both had periods of dominance.

Not much by way of expansive football, though, the two midfields kind of cancelling each other out.

The first goal was a delight. Even though the keeper’s advancement in effect made up Ella Toone’s mind for her the chip still had to be executed perfectly. And it was.

Germany’s equaliser was beautifully worked and excellently taken by Lena Magull. At that point the momentum could have swung behind them, but England saw it out to extra time.

The winner was scrappy. But they all count.

Who knows the difference a fit Alexandra Popp might have made to Germany? England’s defence looked more uncomfortable in this game than in previous ones, even the quarter-final against Spain when they fell behind. But that is as it should be. This was a final. In any case those are the breaks.

England’s coach, Sarina Wiegman, has a reputation for being a tactical genius. She certainly knows how to deploy substitutes and apparently has her side primed for what to do in any eventuality. On the evidence of this tournament though (albeit only in the one game) her tactic for being one behind with ten minutes to go is to put the big lass up front and get it up to her or at least allow her to distract the defence. (Mind you, according to Gary Lineker, that was Johan Cryuff’s preferred option in similar circumstances.)

Finally, it is to be hoped that this will not be harped on forever in the way a certain event which occurred in 1966 has been.

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