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How England Beat Germany to Win Euro 2022


July 31, 2022, 10:49 a.m. ET

July 31, 2022, 10:49 a.m. ET

LONDON — Sarina Wiegman and her players know, deep down, that probably the most significant victory has already been won. Its spoils might be measured not only by the record attendances and the record audiences that England’s run at Euro 2022 has generated, but by the heaving pubs and the ever-present jerseys and, on Sunday, the packed trains making their option to Wembley Stadium for the ultimate against Germany.

It’s going to be clear, too, a number of years from now, because the England captain Leah Williamson said, when this tournament involves be seen as a “game-changer” for ladies’s soccer in England, definitely, and certain across Europe, too.

The issue with elite sports, though, is that it isn’t quite so simple as that. The impact of Euro 2022 on most people is not going to change, in fact, no matter whether England could make that one final step on Sunday and turn out to be European champion for the primary time, but the best way the players remember it most definitely will. It’s one thing to encourage a nation in glory. It’s one other to do it in regret. The victory that matters to England isn’t the philosophical one, the conceptual one. It’s the one which is achieved over 90 minutes, on a field.

Credit…Glyn Kirk/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

It’s an attainable one, too. England has swept through this tournament with such poise and such grandeur that even Wiegman admitted the group phase was “relatively easy.” Her team has only struggled once, in a fraught quarterfinal against Spain; that game brought the one goal Mary Earps has conceded, too. The host ought to be the favourite.

The one caveat is that Germany doesn’t make a convincing underdog. Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side has the air of a team within the throes of transition, an older generation steadily giving option to a younger one, led by the indomitable Lena Oberdorf, but Germany’s pedigree on this tournament is impeccable: It has been crowned champion of Europe eight times, in spite of everything, and it has never lost a final it has reached. This iteration has been gathering momentum, surely and assiduously, throughout the tournament. It, too, knows that is the victory that matters, the one on which every little thing hinges.

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