England won a major women’s tournament for the first time as Chloe Kelly’s extra-time goal secured a 2-1 victory over Germany at a sold out Wembley on Sunday.
In front of a record crowd of 87,192 for any match in the history of the European Championships, Kelly prodded home a loose ball from close range to end English football’s 56-year wait for a World Cup or Euro victory.
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England looked set for victory in the 90 minutes when substitute Ella Toone’s sublime chip over Merle Frohms put the hosts in front.
Germany showed remarkable resilience to bounce back as Lina Magull leveled 11 minutes from time.
But for once, England were not to be denied a major tournament success. Kelly fought back from an anterior cruciate ligament tear to be fit in time for the tournament and made herself a national hero by being in the right place to pounce when Germany failed to clear a corner in the 110th minute.
The Manchester City winger tore her shirt off in celebration in scenes reminiscent of Mia Hamm’s famous reaction to scoring the winning penalty for the USA at the 1999 World Cup.
Fortune did not favor Germany, who lost captain and top goalscorer Alexandra Popp to a muscle injury in the warm-up.
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But England will feel their time for some luck was due as 12 months on from the Three Lions’ defeat on penalties to Italy in the Euro 2020 men’s final, the nation’s women went one better.
While England enjoy the celebrations, Germany manager Martin Voss-Tecklenburg was left aggrieved by the decision not to award a penalty to her side in the first half of Sunday’s Euro 2022 final defeat to England.
Lionesses captain Leah Williamson escaped after the ball hit her hand in a goalmouth scramble with the score still at 0-0.
After a VAR check, Ukrainian referee Kateryna Monzul was not told to review her initial decision not to give a penalty.
“On this level at the end of the European Championships this shouldn’t happen,” said Voss-Tecklenburg.
“I’d like to have a discussion why did not one look at it? This is something I would really like to ask. It happened to us today, but if it had happened to them I would feel the same. It really bothers me.”
Germany suffered a major blow even before kick-off when captain and top goalscorer Alexandra Popp was forced to pull out in the warm-up due to a muscle injury.
Voss-Tecklenburg said the Wolfsburg striker, who had scored six goals in five games in the tournament, had suffered the injury in training on Saturday.
“We tried everything. Yesterday at the end of final training there were some problems, which we didn’t expect,” she added.
“This morning it looked a bit better but it was clear the decision had to be hers. I trusted her 1000 percent and today she said she couldn’t run or shoot properly.
“I have even higher respect to her to say that after such a special tournament, she won’t play a final. She is a great personality.”
German newspaper Bild called the final “another Wembley fraud”. England’s only previous major tournament win in either the men’s or women’s game came in the 1966 World Cup with a 4-2 win over West Germany that is still remembered for the Three Lions’ controversial third goal that may not have crossed the line.