Mead wins Golden Boot as England upsets Germany 2-1 in Eurocup final
London, Jul 31 (EFE).- England bulled ahead to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Germany in the women’s Eurocup 2022 final at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday before 87,192 spectators.
It was the English team’s first-ever Eurocup win and first soccer title in any category since 1966.
Attacking throughout the 90 minutes of regulation time, it took the English until the 62nd minute for Ella Toone to get them on the board, followed by the even-up tally for the Germans by Lina Magull in the 79th minute and then the winning strike by Chloe Kelly in the 109th minute.
Although a final matchup between Germany and England could never be just a run-of-the-mill affair, for much of the match the scoreboard didn’t change, although both teams battled hard to get into striking distance but were held off by good defense.
The fans at Wembley were fervently on the side of their countrywomen, however, and the team exerted constant pressure on their favored rivals, with the Germans’ key player Alexandra Popp – who had scored five goals during the competition so far – going down with a major muscle injury during the warm-up for the match and being unable to take the field.
She was sorely missed as the English exercised good ball control, although the Germans posed the greater danger on a number of occasions.
The English had been controlling the match pretty well by the intermission, although it was still a scoreless tie at the break, but the Germans began to take the steering wheel in the second half, despite Popp’s absence.
Toone had just come onto the pitch as a replacement when she got into the area and pulled Frohms out of the net, firing the ball over the goaltender for the 1-0 and to great delirium at Wembley.
But Magull bounced the Germans back on a combination involving Wassmuth and Lohmann, tying things up 17 minutes later.
Yet, neither team could get themselves ahead before regulation time ran out and finally it was on a corner kick in the 109th minute that England managed to go over the top for the title with Lucy Bronze knocking the ball to Kelly, who tried for it once and missed but recovered and tried again, sending it into the net.
English team captain Leah Williamson said in the post-game remarks: “I just can’t stop crying. We talk, we talk and we talk and we finally done it … this is the proudest moment of my life.”
Sarina Wiegman, England’s manager but from The Netherlands, used the same starting lineup for the final against Germany that she’d fielded throughout the Eurocup competition, while the Germans used the same starting 11 with whom they’d beaten France in the semifinals.
On the field at Wembley Stadium for the English were Earps, Bronze, Bright, Williamson, Daly, Stanway, Walsh, Kirby, Mead, White and Hemp, while the Germans sent in Frohms, Gwinn, Hendrich, Hegering, Rauch, Magull, Oberdorf, Dabritz, Huth, Popp and Brand.
It was England’s first big title in the women’s category and the first overall since they won the World Cup in 1966, while Germany has won eight of the past 10 Eurocup titles in which it has participated.
Striker Beth Mead, who plays for Arsenal, was awarded the Golden Boot for the tourney thanks to the six goals she scored throughout her team’s six matches in the competition. She had scored once against Austria in the team’s debut match, notched a hat trick against Norway in the second game and closed out the group phase with another tally against Northern Ireland.
Mead also received the best player award for the tourney.