The UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 took place over the course of July. Here’s what you need to know about the tournament and its winner!
The UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 had the entire world watching over the course of July. Following a bit of controversy when the Russian team was banned from the tournament over the country’s invasion of Ukraine, 16 teams qualified for the group stage of the tournament. That would include the host country of England, which welcomed the rest of the continent to the tournament for the second time in the history of the Women’s EURO.
In the group stage, the 16 teams were divided into four different groups and scheduled to face each of the other three teams in their group. From the beginning it seemed apparent which teams were head and shoulders above the rest, with England and Germany sweeping their pools. While Germany scored nine goals, England scored 14, a record for that stage. Both allowed zero goals on their way to the knockout stage. France and Sweden rounded out the group winners with Austria, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands also earning a position in the next round.
In the first round of the knockout stage, England was pitted against a difficult squad in Spain, a matchup many expected to see in the finals. Spain struck first, with Esther González scoring from just in front of the goal. With their lives on the line, England struck back in the 84th minute of play with a goal from Ella Toone. Georgia Stanway would then drive a ball past Spain’s goalkeeper in the 96th minute of play to send the hosts to the semi-finals to face Sweden.
Germany faced Austria in the quarter-final, and they never looked back after Lina Magull found the back of the net in the 25th minute of play. They’d go on to win 2-0 and face France in the semi-finals. France, a highly respected team in their own right, remained tied with Germany through 75 minutes of play, but Alexandra Popp buried her second goal of the game in minute 76 to send Germany to the final.
England had already proven to be a powerhouse through the earlier stages of the tournament, and they’d continue to show their dominance in the semi-finals. England’s star forward Beth Mead scored the opening goal in the 34th minute of play, and Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo, and Fran Kirby would all tack on insurance goals. England won by a final score of 4-0 to set the stage for an epic final between the host country and Germany.
The final match was set at Wembley Stadium in London with nearly 90,000 on hand. Little did they know, they were in for a treat. Two teams with five wins and no losses to that point in the tournament faced off in a game for the ages. The game wouldn’t start before some adversity for the German team, as star player, captain and co-scoring leader of the tournament Alexandra Popp sustained an injury during warm-ups.
The game between the two high-powered teams would stay tied as Germany seemingly couldn’t covert on great opportunities at the net. Finally, the tie was broken by Ella Toone, who scored at the 62-minute mark. Germany, however, was seemingly unphased, as Lina Magull scored a gorgeous goal off her left toe to crush the dreams of the English fans for the time being. With the game tied 1-1, it was obvious that the next goal would come from a player who would go on to become football royalty.
England’s depth set them apart as its players off the bench had come up surprisingly clutch the entire tournament. The game would head to extra time when a corner kick from England gave them a unique opportunity. The corner kick came in off the left foot of Lauren Hemp, landing in a group of players before Chloe Kelly, a substitute with no goals in the entire tournament, boxed out Germany’s defenders to send the hometown fans into a frenzy.
After a quick moment to make sure the goal would count, Kelly ripped off her shirt in happiness and ran around the field, drawing comparisons to the legendary Brandi Chastain celebration after winning the World Cup in front of American fans at the Rose Bowl.
The English team is the fifth team to win as hosts, and Beth Mead, who scored six goals in the tournament, was awarded the Player of the Tournament award. An exciting tournament seems to be another win for women’s soccer around the world, as the sport continues to gain traction, followers and youth participants.
All eyes now fall on the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 as the United States looks to defend its title in Australia and New Zealand.