England ended their wait for a major trophy when Chloe Kelly’s extra-time winner handed them a 2-1 win over Germany in the European Women’s Championship final.
Watched by a record crowd of 87,192 at Wembley Stadium, England edged out substitute Ella Toone before being caught by Germany’s Lina Magull.
But Kelly provided the perfect finish for England after coming on as a substitute, scoring in the 110th minute to give the Lionesses their first major tournament triumph and England’s first for men or women since the World Cup 1966. Lauren Hemp’s corner fell on the Manchester City striker, who passed Frohms on the second attempt. After a brief moment of confusion, Kelly ripped off her shirt and celebrated wildly.
England captain Leah Williamson called the title “the proudest moment of my life” in the emotional post-match scenes at Wembley.
“I just can’t stop crying,” Williamson said. “We talk and we talk and we talk and we finally did it. You know what, the kids are fine. It’s the proudest moment of my life.
“Look, the legacy of this tournament is change in society. The legacy of this team is the winners and that’s the journey. I love all of you, I’m so proud to be English. I’m trying so hard not to swear.”
Consistency had been key for England in their run to the final, so it was no surprise that manager Sarina Wiegman named the same starting XI for a sixth game in a row – the first team to do so in the league. history of the men’s or women’s Euro.
Germany were rocked when their top scorer Alexandra Popp was dropped from the starting line-up before a ball was kicked after suffering muscle problems during the warm-up. She was replaced by Lea Schuller.
It gave England a boost, and they almost got off to a perfect start from the start, when Fran Kirby curled in a cross for Ellen White which the Lionesses top scorer headed straight for Germany keeper Merle Frohms.
Germany nearly took the lead in the 25th minute after a rush on goal from a Magull corner. Germany defender Marina Hegering was a close threat, before England keeper Mary Earps claimed to see the danger. Wiegman’s side were relieved when a VAR check for a handball came up empty.
England ended a turbulent first half well and could have taken the lead in the 38th minute, when Beth Mead found White falling back in the box, but the striker fired with a left-footed shot as she stretched to make contact.
As the momentum shifted towards the hosts, Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg made an early half-time substitution, bringing in Tabea Wassmuth for Jule Brand.
The switch gave Germany a new goal, and they fired a warning shot when Magull fired a good chance past Earps’ right post in the 50th minute after a clever turn in the box.
Wiegman sensed the danger and duly dispatched his two super substitutes, Toone and Alessia Russo. And it was Toone who powered England on in style in the 62nd minute, coming up against a fine through ball from Keira Walsh before scoring Frohms to send Wembley into a frenzy.
Germany rose to the challenge and almost equalized when Magull rushed into the box in the 66th minute. His right-footed shot slammed on the crossbar, before Schuller managed to turn around on the rebound.
Magull had been Germany’s sharpest player, and she finally made the difference in the 79th minute. Wassmuth sent a low cross into the box and Magull kicked wide at the near post to temporarily silence the England fans.
Frohms fended off Toone’s long shot with his feet in extra time, before Kelly again sent England to dreamland with their winner.
“It doesn’t feel real,” Toone said. “I’m turning my head. Honestly the best time of my career, the best time of my life. I’m so proud to be part of this group.”
Their victory, over a country that has already beaten so many English teams – men and women – also earned a congratulatory message from Queen Elizabeth.
“Your success goes far beyond the trophy you so deserved. You have all set an example that will inspire the girls and women of today and generations to come,” she wrote. queen.
“I hope you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of today’s result.”
Information from Reuters contributed to this report.