Chloe Kelly’s extra-time goal saw England beat Germany 2-1 to sensationally win Euro 2022 in a packed Wembley stadium.
In front of a record-breaking crowd of 87,192, Kelly’s 110th minute winner provided England’s first major international success since the men’s team won the World Cup in 1966.
“This is the proudest day of my life,” said Captain Leah Williamson after lifting the trophy. “The legacy of this tournament is a change in society. We’ve brought everyone together and we have people at games. We want people to come to WSL games, but the legacy of this team is winners, and it’s the beginning of a journey.”
In an age-old final, Ella Toone gave the Leeuwinnen the lead with a beautiful lob just after the hour after a scoreless but entertaining first half.
A great pass from Keira Walsh caused her teammate to curl the ball around the German defense and hit Toone’s path. She saw goalkeeper Merle Frohms off her line and went for the lob, curling the ball past the German stopper to thrill Wembley.
But eight-time champions Germany – who lost their top scorer Alexandra Popp to an injury just minutes before kick-off – would not be sidelined for long, as Lina Magull equalized in the 79th minute. Sydney Lohmann found Tabea Wassmuth in the area, with a cross from the latter by the midfielder.
The first period of extra time was a restrained affair with neither side wanting to make a mistake but England broke through with 10 minutes remaining. Germany was unable to make a corner, with Kelly’s own shot coming back to his feet in the six-yard box. She was there again to get past Frohms and win England their first major trophy.
It was a tentative start to a record-breaking crowd at Wembley, but England started better. Within four minutes, Fran Kirby sent in a cross, which was caught by Ellen White, but her header went straight to Frohms.
Germany had the best chance of the half in the 25th minute. Georgia Stanway accidentally nodded at a corner of Germany, as the Lionesses tried to get away, before Mary Earps jumped on the loose ball.
England could have taken the lead just before half-time. Beth Mead knocked out White in the middle, but the striker leaned forward as she hit the ball, sending the ball over the crossbar.
Germany should have taken the lead five minutes after the break. Magull jabbed the ball just wide of the post after finding an ounce of space, before Toone took England ahead just after the hour.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side should have equalized shortly afterwards. Magull again with the shot to test England, but her curling attempt could only find the post. Earps was then there to pick up the rebound, but she couldn’t stop Magull from tying the score with 11 minutes left.
It was a classic overtime – neither side wanted to give anything away. A painful penalty shootout against the Germans seemed to be at stake.
But then Kelly – just 24 years old – scrambled home the winner to send Wembley into overdrive, while England arranged the match to write their names in history.
Wiegman: It was a fighting game, but who cares?
England Women manager Sarina Wiegman told UKTN:
“We won the cup. It’s just unbelievable. I don’t even remember what you asked me! I don’t know what’s going on!
On what makes this team so resilient: “Have you got half an hour? If you really want to get better every day, you should.
“The players wanted to do it together and we agreed on some things about behaviour, and it wasn’t just words.
“We’ve been through it and this is the result. With Germany it was so tight and it was a bit of a fighting game, but who cares? We are European champions.
“I told the players that we needed five more minutes because we had already broken two barriers against Spain and we had to do it again for 15 minutes.
“I don’t have any secrets. I just need some time to figure out what’s going on. The trophy is pretty heavy – I’d know!”
Mead wins Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament
Although Mead failed to score in the Wembley final, she added two personal honors to her cabinet and won the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament.
The winger was level with Alexandra Popp with six goals en route to the final, but the German captain was injured during the warm-up when he saw Mead take the credit with five assists during the tournament. Popp had none on her part.
Alessia Russo also finished in third place with four goals, including that stunning heel against Sweden that will be talked about for years to come.
Mead was also crowned Player of the Tournament by a select UEFA panel, marking a stunning turnaround after her omission from Team GB’s Olympic squad just a year ago.
“I can’t believe it, sometimes football puts you down, but rebounding is the best way and that’s what we did,” she said.
“I’m speechless, I can’t take it all in, I’m still in shock. I can’t believe we won it, I just can’t, it’s crazy. I am so, so proud of this team. I love this team and I love this country.”
Germany’s Lena Oberdorf also took home the Young Player of the Tournament trophy, having won Euro 2022 at just 20 years of age.
Reaction to the Lionesses’ victory
The Queen: “My heartfelt congratulations, and that of my family, go to all of you on winning the European Women’s Football Championship. It is an important achievement for the whole team, including your support staff. The championships and your achievements in them have been deserved. your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so earned. You have all set an example that will be an inspiration to girls and women today and to generations to come. I hope you will be just as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are from today’s result.”
Voss-Tecklenburg: England deserved champions
Germany head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg:
“Let’s distinguish between football and feeling. Let’s start with the football, possession in the first half was more on the English side. They put pressure on us. They got a few free kicks, sometimes we lacked courage.”
“We had a few attacks, which was good. I think of the situation at 0-0, there was a clear situation in the penalty area and that was a clear handball. The VAR looked at it, but didn’t give it. not to it, that hurt a bit.
“We wanted to play bravely to score the first goal and play with high press. When we actually had more of the ball, we conceded the goal. In extra time, the 2-1 was just a bit of bad luck. Maybe the penalty should have been be decided.
“England is a deserved champion. They win so hard and look at the support they have. If you score two goals against Germany, you are a deserved champion. Congratulations to them.”
“A lot of energy and pride in my team. It was incredibly loud. This will help us in the future. We gave everything on the field, not everything worked, but we gave sweat, struggle and energy. That’s very sad, that can you “I can’t find the right words to tell the team. I just have to process that. We came to win the game, but we didn’t succeed. Maybe I’ll feel differently about it tomorrow.”
“Runners-up sounds pretty good, but it hurts a bit. Only one team could win today, maybe we need a little more time to process that.”