England edged Germany 2-1 in extra time in a packed Wembley Stadium in London, bringing home the trophy of the UEFA women’s Euro for the first time on Sunday.
Germany suffered a heavy blow minutes ahead of the final as their captain Alex Popp had to pull out after picking up an injury during the warm-up.
The 31-year-old forward had scored in all five previous matches in this tournament and scored twice in Germany’s 2-1 win against France in Wednesday’s semifinal.
England, reaching the Euro’s final for the third time, couldn’t break the deadlock until Ella Toone came off the bench to score the opener in the 62nd minute. But midfielder Lina Magull helped Germany equalize in the 79th minute.
The 1-1 scoreline was held until the 110th minute while substitute Chloe Kelly prodded in her first goal for the England team.
“What we’ve done is incredible. I knew we had England behind us- we saw that coming to the stadium,” said England head coach Sarina Wiegman in front of 87,192 fans in Wembley.
“But the whole tournament we’ve had so much support from our fans. I’m so proud of the team.”
The 52-year-old Dutchwoman, who also guided the Netherlands to win the women’s Euro trophy in 2017, is the first coach to lead two different teams to the title.
Alexandra Popp’s grabbed a brace as Germany beat France 2-1 in Milton Keynes to reach the 2022 women’s European Championship final on Wednesday.
The two teams started the game cautiously until the 22nd minute when Popp tested the French goalkeeper with a free-kick. It was Popp again who broke the deadlock in the 40th minute when the German captain received a cross from Svenja Huth and sent it home.
The lead was canceled out just five minutes later with an own goal from the German goalkeeper Merle Frohms, as Kadidiatou Diani’s strike from outside the box hit the post, bounced on the back of the Wolfsburg goalkeeper and into her net.
France seemed to have found their momentum in the second half after they leveled the score, but Frohms’ brilliant saves kept Germany alive. Popp again combined with Huth to put Germany ahead in the 76th minute with a header and secured a final berth.
With six goals, 31-year-old Popp leveled with Beth Mead of England to battle for the Golden Boot, matching the record for a single women’s European Championship held by Germany’s Inka Grings in 2009.
On July 31, eight-time winners Germany will face hosts England, who thrashed Tokyo Olympic silver medalists Sweden 4-0 in the other semifinal on Tuesday, in front of a sell-out crowd.
Thomas Muller believes former world champions Germany remain a magic bag heading into the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar.
Statistics don’t seem to bother the Bayern striker overwhelmingly after his side crushed the 2020 European Champion Italy 5-2 in a Nations League encounter.
161 days ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Germany might have secured the highest victory against Italy in 83 years.
Joshua Kimmich, Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty, Muller, and a quick-fire Timo Werner double turned things to better for a German team seeking stability.
Muller talked about a pleasant evening in the Moenchengladbach arena but neglected any informative value. “Most important is to enter our vacation with a good feeling after a stressful season and recover,” the forward said. “It doesn’t mean a lot regarding the World Cup despite everyone asking for it.”
Germany managed to survive unbeaten in 13 games under coach Hansi Flick and accomplished its mission to beat one of football’s great nations.
Despite coach Hansi Flick having found his bearing axis in Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rudiger, Kimmich, and Muller the 2014 World Champion sees itself far from what you call a tournament favorite.
“We know we can beat everyone on a good day, but things can still go in both directions. The Nations League games don’t deliver answers but only hints,” Muller said. Germany remains a magic bag regarding the Qatar tournament in the striker’s respect.
Coach Flick might draw a more valuable picture as competition has increased within the squad. Regulars such as Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka (Bayern) experienced they are replaceable.
Challengers such as Jonas Hofmann (Moenchengladbach) and Ilkay Guendogan (City) developed into the winners of the World Cup preparations aside from Hoffenheim’s full-back David Raum.
Flick spoke about a passed stress test and Guendogan called his team hard to beat, but “we should get carried away by one game” Muller demanded. “Confidence has increased, as we often managed to win the ball back after having lost it, but there is a lot of work ahead of us.”
The current inconsistency of several European teams doesn’t mean a thing from Mullers’ perspective. The Bayern striker demanded to “see things as they are. None of the so-called favorites knows about his performance level in five months.”
Having to kick the can down the road until the kick-off in mid-November in Qatar is a mental challenge. “It’s about gaining a positive feeling and preserving it,” Muller said with Germany having to face World Cup group opponents such as Japan, Spain, and Costa Rica.
The victory against the newly formed Italian team is “something to get rid of some of your doubts for the moment. That’s it,” the 2020 treble winner stated.
While goalie Neuer called the victory a milestone, is Muller relying on his gut feelings. They are telling him not to get too enthusiastic.
The current struggles of the 2018 World Champion France or England are not more than a snapshot he is insisting.
Former world champions Germany climbed to the second place in Group E after trashing Italy 5-2 in the fourth round of the Nations League on Tuesday.
Both sides started motivated and exchanged attacks in the opening stages as Germany’s Leroy Sane came close with a long-range attempt before Italy’s Giacomo Raspadori tested Manuel Neuer with a dangerous shot at the other end of the pitch.
The hosts eventually broke the deadlock in the 10th minute when David Raum’s pinpoint cross into the box found Joshua Kimmich, who headed home the opener from a central position.
The Germans controlled the proceedings but Antonio Rudiger nor Sane was able to double the advantage despite promising chances.
Hansi Flick’s men got rewarded for their powerful display just before the half time as Ilkay Gundogan converted a foul play penalty to make it 2-0 on the scoreboards.
Even after the break, Italy couldn’t put up resistance as Germany made it three just six minutes into the second half after Thomas Muller latched onto Raum’s square pass.
Things went from bad to worse for Italy in the 68th minute when Werner turned up and provided a brace in quick succession to shock the hosts.
Italy showed a sign of life and scored their consolation goal through Wilfried Gnonto, who poked home a parry from Neuer to make it 5-1 in the 78th minute.
The visitors gained momentum and reduced the arrears to 5-2 in the dying seconds of the game when Alessandro Bastoni headed home Federico Dimarco’s corner kick.
Hungary sits atop the standings in Group 3 with 7 points, followed by Germany, Italy and England.
“Big compliment to the boys. They have perfectly implemented our strategy. After three straight draws, we needed a victory. Victories are important for our confidence. It was a faultless performance but that doesn’t matter today,” said Germany head coach Hansi Flick.
“Germany was the better team today. We must keep improving. It won’t be easy, but we have the quality,” said Italy’s youngster Gnonto.
Harry Kane scored late from the spot to cancel out Jonas Hofmann’s opener as England forced a 1-1 draw with Germany at the second game in Group 3 of UEFA Nations League on Tuesday.
The Germans started brightly in front of the home crowd as Kai Havertz tested England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after a fine combination with David Raum after just two minutes.
The hosts thought they had opened the scoring with 23 minutes gone but Hofmann’s goal into the top right corner was ruled offside.
At the half-hour mark, England eventually came to its first chance, but Kane couldn’t find the back of the goal from a promising position following a corner.
Both sides had chances to break the deadlock before halftime, yet Musiala couldn’t beat Pickford from a central position while Neuer denied Bukayo Saka’s shot from a tight angle.
After the restart, Germany started well into the encounter as Joshua Kimmich’s through ball found Hofmann, who had all time and space to drill the ball from 10 meters past Pickford in the 51st minute.
England responded well and should have leveled the scores moments later but Neuer was equal to Mason Mount’s dangerous long-range hammer.
Germany nearly caught England but Thomas Muller failed to overcome Pickford from very close range in the 70th minute.
Neuer drove England to desperation as Germany’s No.1 neutralized Kane’s first time shot at the far post, six minutes later.
Kane had the last laugh though as Nico Schlotterbeck fouled on England’s striker inside the box in the 88th minute. Kane stepped up and sent Neuer into the wrong corner to clinch a 1-1 draw on the road.
“England’s later equalizer is of course bitter. We played well overall and created our moments, but we should have secured the win,” said Germany’s Jonas Hofmann.
“I think we must thank Manuel Neuer. He is the best goalkeeper in the world. The boys staged a great performance, but they failed to reward themselves,” said Germany coach Hansi Flick.
With the result, Italy lead Group 3 in UEFA Nations League with 4 points followed by Hungary (3 points), Germany (2 points) and England (1 point).
Manchester City talisman Ilkay Gundogan is tipped to be a perfect leader for Germany and help them survive their Nations League encounter against England this Tuesday in Munich.
While German national coach Hansi Flick is making a secret out of his starting eleven, the 31-year-old midfielder’s inside knowledge of English football seem to turn him into a valuable force.
Ahead of the 2014 World Champions’ second appearance in this season’s Nations League, Flick announced to change his first eleven. German media report, that Gundogan is going to start in the German shirt.
After his two goals against Aston Villa made the Sky Blues take the Premier League title, the German turned up in a good mood for a press conference.
Robustness and a high-quality performance level are needed to kick the can down the road against the Three Lions, the England Expert stated.
“England can appoint three national teams, all meeting the highest international standards. I expect a very strong opponent with us having to deliver our best,” the City’s midfielder said.
Despite having won several trophies in the Premier League, the German will still take Tuesday’s duel as a paramount event as his national team career so far has been far from an overall success story.
Facing one of football’s best-equipped opponents can come near a turning point for the man who missed several major tournaments due to injuries.
Despite his outstanding quality, Gundogan never managed to develop into a regular in the German team. Flick and his predecessor Joachim Loew mostly counted on Bayern’s midfield duo Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka.
The disappointing 1-1 draw against Italy in this season’s Nations League opener seems to have made Flick change his mind.
“He turned into what you call an influential element in our game when sent on the pitch,” the 57-year-old coach said.
The German coach praised Gundogan’s qualities as “a player but at the same time as a human. The team benefitted from his experience and his ability to deliver stability.”
He is happy about the success in the Premier League, Flick added.
Gundogan’s tasks seem as clear as they are challenging. Flick doesn’t expect less that to gain control in midfield and increase the game speed.
Gundogan spoke about securing the German goal but at the same time providing a convincing game up front. “It’s important to show some skills in front of the English goal and get into dangerous spaces. That’s something we need to combine to be successful,” he commented.
The upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar might be Gundogan’s last big tournament. “I am very much looking forward to the games. And of course, I want to be successful.”
A well-oiled performance might even help the German midfielder find a solution for his club future. Rumors speak about him possibly leaving the oil-rich club this summer.
Gundogan admitted to being in talks with his club while media reports speak of the interest of several top European sides to sign him despite a valid contract until 2023.
“I am confident talking about the World Cup. I don’t see many teams far above us,” he said. As it seems, Gundogan has understood, it is up to him to first make Germany beat England and then add something successful in Qatar.
BERLIN, March 22 (Xinhua) — For a long time, Joachim Loew was known as a man that understood his players and their concerns.
The back-up staff and pundits both praised Loew’s ability to discover what was on the players’ minds and in their hearts. They saw it as the primary reason behind Germany’s 2014 World Cup win. For years, Loew seemed full of understanding regarding whenever his players were going through a difficult time.
Turning down the home stretch, the country’s most successful manager (120 wins 189 games) is turning into an uncompromising coach. From now on, he seems to only care for positive results having announced his departure this summer after 15 years in charge.
The times of the once friendly coach that way sympathetic to the player’s needs seem over. Free of any burden and considerations, he has started his journey to win the last title, this summer’s European Championship. To achieve his incredible career’s last success, Loew has put plans to rejuvenate his squad on ice.
Paris midfielder Julian Draxler and Dortmund striker Julian Brandt seem the first to experience Low’s changes. Both 2014 world champions haven’t been picked for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Iceland, Romania, and Northern Macedonia due to their clubs’ poor performances.
Going further, the German coach spoke about a possible return of excluded players such as Thomas Mueller and Mats Hummels. Despite the turnaround, Loew’s plans seem more than a bold dream. Mueller’s stunning form plus that of Manchester City’s Ilkay Guendogan, Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich, and Leon Goretzka have turned Germany into one of the favourites for the tournament.
Times of disappointing ups and downs seem over as Loew is leaving the task of developing a new competitive team heading for the 2022 World Cup and the 2024 European Championships to his successor.
The German coach appears to be concentrating not on the German team development but his future. Loew announced that he will continue his coaching career at a club. He is going to intensify efforts to learn Spanish.
“I don’t see myself in a rocking chair having a good time,” he said. The coach can count on the support of the entire Bundesliga as club leaders have promised full support. “Loew has done a lot for German football. We will do everything so that his career as the national coach ends successfully,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. As his last service, Loew convinced Bayern talent Jamal Musiala to play for Germany rather than England. With the 18-year-old Musiala and Leverkusen’s talented striker Florian Wirtz (17) in the squad for the country’s qualifiers, Loew has collected additional brownie points.
Gathering his squad in Duesseldorf this Monday afternoon, Loew announced that he is preparing for this summer’s challenging tournament and “wants to see what additional help we need.”
Reports speak of a done deal regarding Mueller’s return when the German coach has to announce his final squad for the Euro. Loew said that aiming for the title is foremost in his mind. Therefore, he will only pick the best and will ignore past achievements. In the group stage, Germany will face France, Portugal, and Hungary.
Two-time champions Germany suffered a shock Women’s World Cup quarter-final exit as Sweden came from behind to beat them 2-1 in Rennes.
Germany had gone ahead through Lina Magull’s acrobatic finish but Sweden responded when Sofia Jakobsson ran clear on goal and coolly finished.
Stina Blackstenius poked in from close range early in the second half and they managed to hold on to their lead.
This means that the Germans won’t get to defend the gold won in in Rio in 2016. They were the favourites to progress having a stellar record in the tournament.
Germany had not conceded a single goal in this tournament but that changed when former Chelsea forward Jakobsson latched on to a long ball and equalised, before Blackstenius scored from close range after German goalkeeper Almuth Schultz parried Fridolina Rolfo’s header.
“It is a big surprise. Not many people have been talking about this side of the draw because it was all about France, the USA and England. Everyone thought Germany would cruise to the final.” Reported the BBC
This result made Sweden the first team in the tournament to come from behind and progress at the quarter-final stage whereas Germany made it the third time they have been knocked out at the quarter-final stage in eight appearances.
As for The Netherlands, they managed to reach the Women’s World Cup semi-finals for the first time thanks to two second-half headers against Italy in Valenciennes.
Vivianne Miedema, the Netherlands’ all-time top scorer, netted her 61st international goal with a glancing header from Sherida Spitse’s free-kick.
And Stefanie van der Gragt powered home another Spitse free-kick to seal their place in the last four.
The Netherlands are playing at a World Cup finals for only the second time, and went out in the last 16 in 2015.
They were victors at Euro 2017, their home tournament, and they had great support in Valenciennes, which is only a two-hour drive from the Dutch border.
The Netherlands will compete in next year’s Olympics in Tokyo as a result of being one of the final three European teams in the World Cup as Italy’s brave run comes to an end.
Italy were the surprise team of the tournament. This was their first World Cup in 20 years and they topped a group including Australia, Brazil and Jamaica before beating China in the last 16.
The European champions will face Sweden in the semi-final after the Germans suffered a shocking loss to the Swedes.
That fourth quarter-final kicks off at 17:30 BST. The semi-final will be in Lyon on Wednesday.
Germany and Turkey will find out on Thursday which of them has won the right to host Euro 2024.
They will make their final bid presentations to Uefa before the decision is announced.
In the build up, an evaluation report by European football’s governing body stated giving it to Turkey had risks.
The report added that Turkey’s lack of an action plan in the area of human rights and limited hotel capacity in many cities are matters “of concern”.
It also labelled the scale of transport infrastructure work required “a risk” for a tournament which will return to a single-host format after Euro 2020 is held across Europe.
‘There are no valid reasons why Turkey shouldn’t host Euro 2024’
Turkey Football Federation vice-president Servet Yardimci said: “The human rights issue is our government’s top priority.
“By Uefa giving this tournament to Turkey it will also make Turkey accelerate to be in a much better position in terms of complying with human rights.
“There are no valid reasons why Turkey shouldn’t host Euro 2024, but there are multiple positive reasons why Turkey should host the tournament.
“Now must be the time for Turkey. If it’s not this time when will it be?”
Germany a ‘good choice’ for football
Germany were hosts of the 2006 World Cup and the German Football Federation (DFB) secretary general Friedrich Curtius described awarding the tournament to them as a “safe bet”.
“The most important question is what is the best for decision for football in Europe,” he said.
“I think, within the heart of Europe, to have such an event is a good choice for football and I’m convinced we have given a good arguments to become hosts.”
What’s the sales pitch?
According to Uefa’s report, Turkey’s bid is based on bringing people together by promoting an intercultural dialogue “thanks to its location between three continents”.
Turkey is yet to host a major international football tournament but one of the bid’s key focal points is to “inspire a wider audience, especially the large youth population, to become involved in football”.
Hosting the tournament in 2024 would further mark the end of celebrations for the 100-year anniversary of the establishment of the republic of Turkey, as well as its football federation.
Germany is one of 12 countries being used for Euro 2020, but their motivation to host 2024 includes “creating a bridge between elite and grassroots football”.
Euro 2024 would also be the first time Germany has hosted the European Championship finals as a unified country – West Germany staged the 1988 tournament.
Turkey is proposing to use 10 venues – with the largest being the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, which has been selected to host the 2020 Champions League final after staging the 2005 final when Liverpool beat AC Milan.
That would be rebuilt before Euro 2024 to provide a net capacity of 85,718.
The Ankara Stadium in Turkey’s capital would also be rebuilt, while the 41,349-capacity Antalya Stadium would be renovated.
According to the report, the aggregate net capacity for 51 matches in Turkey will be about 2,490,000, compared to 2,780,000 in Germany.
None of Germany’s 10 proposed venues – Berlin, Cologne, Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich and Stuttgart – would require any work.
The evaluation report also takes into account getting to and from games, and transport links between the host cities.
“Due to its location in the south-eastern part of Europe, Turkey’s international accessibility relies on air transport, mainly via the Istanbul airports and, to some extent, Ankara and Antalya,” the report states.
“Within the country, Turkey has planned to extensively enhance its transport infrastructure network at national and city level by 2024.
“The planned level of infrastructure for 2024 would make it possible to meet the tournament requirements.
“The scale of works to be undertaken in the given time frame constitutes a risk, especially in combination with the dependence on a few airports for international and domestic travel.”
Regarding Germany, the report says all of the proposed host cities are well-connected to motorways.
However, the airports proposed by the host cities of Leipzig, Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen are “slightly under requirements in terms of airport capacity and public transport accessibility”.
‘Turkey’s limited hotel capacity a concern’
Two of Turkey’s 10 venues are in Istanbul. The other eight host cities are Ankara, Antalya, Bursa, Eskisehir, Gaziantep, Kocaeli, Konya and Trabzon.
According to the report, Istanbul and Antalya’s hotels can accommodate a high number of fans.
The report adds: “Ankara’s hotel accommodation capacity is limited. For all the other cities, the hotel accommodation capacity is very limited.
“Overall the limited hotel capacity in many cities is a matter of concern.”
It is a different story in Germany.
According to the report, hotels in Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart can accommodate “an extremely large number of fans”.
It adds: “Leipzig has a high hotel accommodation capacity, whereas Dortmund’s capacity is limited.
“The camp sites and short-term rental locations mentioned by the bidder as alternative accommodation possibilities would certainly be sufficient to minimise the impact of the lack of hotel rooms in Dortmund.”
Berlin and Dusseldorf have proposed large fan zones with a capacity of more than 100,000 spectators.
Germany’s other host cities will accommodate between 33,000 and 80,000 at fan zones.
In Turkey, Istanbul has proposed a location with a capacity of 56,000 spectators.
All other host cities have proposed fan zones with capacities between 9,000 and 37,000 spectators.
From the moment that the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ was made, fans around the globe have been poring over each of the groups and contemplating who might face who in the knockout rounds.
As they will no doubt have noticed there are some classic matches potentially in store from the Round of 16 onwards. Yet though the sport of football continues to develop at pace, it remains as unpredictable as ever. Anything can happen over the course of 90 minutes and nothing can be taken for granted in the group phase, where many a favourite has found themselves struggling just to make it through to the next round. For example, few would have tipped Costa Rica to advance from a Brazil 2014 pool also containing England, Italy and Uruguay. And yet Los Ticos progressed as group winners, while the English and Italians caught the first plane home.
To help fire your imagination and let you see if there is a potential knockout match you might be tempted to buy tickets for, FIFA.com has come up with a list of possible last-16 and quarter-final duels between some of the game’s biggest attractions.
France-Argentina Round of 16 The top seeds in Groups C and D both have designs on winning their respective sections. But if one of them advances as a group winner and the other as a runner-up, then we will be seeing Lionel Messi facing off against Antoine Griezmann either in Kazan (30 June) or Nizhny Novgorod (1 July), depending on their team’s group placings. Argentina have won both previous world finals meetings between the two countries: 1-0 at Uruguay 1930 and 2-1 at Argentina 1978.
Brazil-Germany Round of 16
Brazil may have the chance to avenge that 7-1 semi-final defeat at the last World Cup as early as the Round of 16. If they suffer a minor slip-up in Group E and only finish second and Germany win Group F, or vice versa, then the two nations will meet in Samara (2 July) or St Petersburg (3 July). After two previous meetings on the big stage, it is honours even: Brazil won the Final of Korea/Japan 2002 2-0, while Germany recorded that famous victory at Brazil 2014.
Russia-Spain Round of 16 Should they advance from the group phase, the hosts are more than likely to face stiff opposition in the last 16, with Portugal or Spain potentially lying in wait for them, either in Sochi (30 June) or Moscow (1 July). Should Russia come up against the Spanish, it would be the first World Cup finals encounter between the two. La Roja have long been a bogey team for the eastern European nation, winning their first European title against the former USSR in 1964 and then beating them twice en route to their second continental crown, in 2008.
Portugal-Argentina Quarter-finals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will come face to face for the first time in the World Cup only if their two nations finish in the same position in the group phase, either first or second. That would leave them in the same side of the draw and on course for a possible collision in Nizhny Novgorod (6 July) or Sochi (7 July). The countries have never locked horns before in the world finals, adding even more interest to the possible duel between their star players.
There is sport, and there is HEAVY METAL SPORT. Sports Africa is all about the latter: a kick-ass sports website that says we know sport!
We are Africa’s number one online sports community created by true fans.
As fans first, and journalists second, we know how sports content should be presented. So say goodbye to those bland sites and welcome to the true home of sports.
Visit us for the most compelling sporting content from Africa and around the world.