By Christian Radnedge
LONDON (Reuters) – A goal in extra time from striker Chloe Kelly gave England a 2-1 win over Germany in Sunday’s European Women’s Championship final, clinching their first major title in front of a record crowd at home.
Substitute Kelly reacted faster to a loose corner ball in the second overtime to give her team victory and avenge the defeat against Germany in the Euro 2009 final in Helsinki.
England manager Sarina Wiegman became the first manager to win Europeans – male or female – with two different nations leading her native Netherlands to the title in 2017. She was appointed England manager in September last year. and since then the team hasn’t lost.
“I just can’t stop crying. We talk, talk and talk and finally we made it. You know what, the children are fine. This is the proudest moment of my life,” said England captain Leah Williamson on the sidelines.
“Hear the legacy of this tournament is the change in society. The legacy of this team is the winner and this is the journey. I love each one of you, I am so proud to be English. I am trying so hard not to swear. “
On an unforgettable day for England, the hosts opened the scoring in the 62nd minute with striker Ella Toone in front of a sold-out crowd at Wembley Stadium, with 87,192 appearances a record for a UEFA tournament, men or women. .
Substitute Lina Magull brought Germany back into play to send them into extra time, but Kelly jumped out at the right time to take over England and drive the home fans crazy.
Germany suffered a blow in the warm-up when striker Alexandra Popp, who had scored six goals in five games in her European debut, suffered a muscle injury and had to retire from training and was replaced by Lea Schuller.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side missed Popp’s presence in the box, but it was a heavily physical encounter that produced a goalless first half.
Toone opened the scoring shortly after the hour with a nice chipped finish moments after joining as a substitute.
However, that was overruled by Magull who scored the draw from close range 17 minutes later after the hosts had been pushed back by opponents.
The match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes to move into extra time where the mood dulled a bit as the thought of Germany winning Europe’s record ninth crown at home to English football began to permeate. .
That was until the 110th minute when Kelly, who moments earlier urged the audience to raise their voices and encourage the team, reacted faster to stab the winner and inflict Germany’s first defeat in a major final.
“It doesn’t feel real. I’m buzzing out loud. Honestly the best moment of my career, the best moment of my life. I’m so proud to be a part of this group,” said Toone.
England’s Beth Mead won the Player of the Tournament award for her six goals and five assists, helping her team to score 22 times during the tournament.
“I’m speechless. I’m shocked. I just had a good cry with the family, I wouldn’t be here without them,” said the 27-year-old.
“I am so, so proud of this team, I love this team and I love this country.”
(Reporting by Christian Radnedge, editing by Pritha Sarkar)