An extra-time strike from striker Chloe Kelly gave England a 2-1 win over Germany in the European Women’s Championship final to win their first-ever major title in front of a record-breaking home crowd.
Substitute Kelly reacted fastest to a stray ball from a corner in the second period of extra time on Sunday to give her side victory and avenge their loss to Germany in the Euro 2009 final in Helsinki , in Finland.
England manager Sarina Wiegman has become the first manager to win the Euros with two different nations, having led her native Netherlands to the title in 2017.
“I can’t stop crying. We talk, we talk and we talk and we finally did it. You know what, the kids are fine. It’s the proudest moment of my life,” said England captain Leah Williamson.
“Listen, the legacy of this tournament is societal change. The legacy of this team is winners and that’s the journey. I love all of you, I’m so proud to be English. I try so hard not to swear.
After the final whistle, the England players danced and the crowd sang their anthem, Sweet Caroline.
The good-natured atmosphere inside the stadium on Sunday contrasted with the violent scenes when the England men’s side lost their European Championship final to Italy at the same stadium a year ago.
“I always thought I would be here, but to be here and score the winner, wow. These girls are amazing,” said Kelly, who returned from a serious knee injury in April. “It’s amazing, I just want to celebrate now.”
It was a historic night for England, who opened the scoring in the 62nd minute through striker Ella Toone in front of a sold-out crowd at Wembley Stadium.
The attendance of 87,192 was a record for a Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) tournament, men’s or women’s, underscoring the growth of women’s football in Europe since England and Germany last played played for a continental title 13 years ago.
Substitute Lina Magull brought Germany back into the game to send them into extra time, but Kelly appeared at just the right time to win for England and drive the home fans crazy.
Germany suffered a major blow in the warm-up when striker Alexandra Popp, who had scored six goals in five games on her Euros debut, suffered a muscle injury and had to withdraw from the line-up and was replaced by Lea Schuller.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side missed Popp’s presence in the box, but it was a very physical encounter that produced a scoreless first half.
Toone opened the scoring shortly after the hour mark with a fine chipped finish, moments after coming on as a substitute.
However, that was canceled out by Magull, who equalized from close range 17 minutes later after the hosts were denied by their opponents.
The game ended 1-1 after 90 minutes of extra time, when the atmosphere cooled down a bit as the idea of Germany winning a record ninth Euro crown at the home of English football began. to impregnate.
It was until the 110th minute, when Kelly, who had urged the crowd moments before to raise their voices and cheer the team, reacted fastest to stab the winner and inflict Germany’s first loss in a major final.
Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba, reporting from outside the London stadium, said there were record attendances at stadiums across the country during the tournament: more than 500,000 people attended matches.
“The hope is that beyond the elite this can lead to greater investment in grassroots sports with girls of primary school age and beyond, not just having access but allowing himself to train at elite clubs,” Baba said.
“Sometimes it’s not free for them at premiership-linked academies when it’s for the boys,” he said. “A bit of equality, a bit more respect and financial stability for professional players so that they can dedicate themselves to the sport. If there are any questions about the quality they offer, I think this tournament really got rid of these issues.
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