Given the squad at Sarina Wiegman’s disposal, a European Championship semi-final was seen as the minimum for England this summer, but the Dutchwoman has exceeded expectations. Since replacing Phil Neville last September, Wiegman has taken charge of 19 England matches and is still yet to lose, drawing just twice alongside the 17 wins. Five of those wins have, of course, come at Euro 2022 with England marching to the final.
There was a nervy start to the tournament for England as they scraped a 1-0 win over Austria in the opening match at Old Trafford thanks to Beth Mead’s goal, but that was to be expected. What wasn’t expected was what followed. Billed as the Group A decider between two teams of a similar standard, England thrashed Norway 8-0 to seal their spot in the quarter-finals and helped knock the dark horses out. A 5-0 win over Northern Ireland wrapped up the perfect group stage but awaiting England in the next round were pre-tournament favourites Spain.
After cruising in their past two matches, England struggled against Spain and were trailing with 10 minutes left to play. But an Ella Toone equaliser took the game to extra-time and Georgia Stanway sealed the win with a rocket, sending the Amex into raptures. World No.2 Sweden were the semi-final opponents and England were tipped to struggle again, potentially even bowing out, but after a sloppy start the Lionesses grew and eventually took a 4-0 win away from Bramall Lane to secure just their third ever European Championships final appearance.
Germany, on the other hand, are no strangers to European finals. This will be Germany’s ninth time in the final of the European Championships and, as mentioned earlier, they are also eight-time champions. You do the maths. Die Nationalelf were among the dark horses for the Euros pre-tournament, purely because no one quite knew how their talent squad would line up. Well, now everyone does know, and they are some people’s favourites for Sunday.
Like England, Germany went through the group stage perfect but theirs was a slightly harder task. Germany started the tournament with a 4-0 thrashing of Denmark, who were genuine contenders to get out of the group, before beating Spain 2-0 – who as we mentioned were pre-tournament favourites. After two games, Germany were through and left Spain and Denmark battling it out for second while they comfortably beat Finland 3-0.
In the quarter final, Germany joined England in beating Austria, but they had a slightly better scoreline of 2-0 by capitalising on two goalkeeping errors from Manuela Zinsberger who had been on top form at the tournament. Germany’s biggest test at the tournament came in the semi-final against France and they conceded for the first time, ironically an own goal by goalkeeper Merle Frohms. But that wasn’t enough to knock them out as Alexandra Popp scored twice to set up a repeat of the Euro 2009 final.
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England Women vs Germany Women match stats
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? And what happens when that unstoppable force is also an immovable object, and the immovable object is also an unstoppable force? We’re going to find out on Sunday, as Germany and England have both been excellent in defence and attack. The defences may just win out though, as Frohms and Mary Earps have been virtually unbeatable at Euro 2022, both keeping four clean sheets and conceding one goal.
Games like this are won by players who know when to turn up and that’s exactly was Alexandra Popp has done. Terrible luck with injuries has meant that this is actually Popp’s first European Championship despite being part of Germany’s squad for ages, and she’s been making up for lost time. The German is joint-top scorer at Euro 2022 with six goals and has found the net in all five of her matches so far, the first ever player to achieve that feat at a Women’s European Championship.
Beth Mead vs Alexandra Popp: Who wins the Euro 2022 Golden Boot?
23 February 2022 – England 3-1 Germany – Arnold Clark Cup
9 November 2019 – England 1-2 Germany – Friendly
4 March 2018 – Germany 2-2 England – SheBelieves Cup
7 March 2017 – Germany 1-0 England – SheBelieves Cup
6 March 2016 – Germany 2-1 England – SheBelieves Cup
England really don’t like playing Germany, with their 3-1 win in March’s inaugural Arnold Clark Cup just their second victory in this fixture. Overall, these two sides have met 27 times with Germany winning 21, the most England have lost against a single opponent and four draws.