England’s heartbeat Keira Walsh orchestrates Euro 2022 triumph

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
England’s heartbeat Keira Walsh orchestrates Euro 2022 triumph
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

If there has been a theme of England’s big-tournament failures in the men’s game, it is an inability to keep the ball as well as their opponents, often ­attributed to the absence of a certain kind of un-English midfield player.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that England’s women achieved what has so far alluded their male ­counterparts with the brilliant Keira Walsh as the heartbeat of Sarina ­Wiegman’s side.

Walsh offered a fine demonstration of how to use the ball and was named player of the match as England won the European Championship with a 2-1 win over Germany at Wembley.

The Manchester City playmaker has revealed her admiration for David Silva and even the Spanish great would have been proud of her assist that created England’s opening goal for Ella Toone last night.

Deep inside her own half, Walsh dissected the German defence with a magnificent pass, finished by Toone with a cool dink over the onrushing goalkeeper.

It was a goal worthy of winning the game, although England had to wait for Chloe Kelly to stab home in extra-time after Lina Magull’s well-taken equaliser.

Walsh’s battle with Lena Oberdorf was billed as the duel that could decide the European Championship and ­England’s lynchpin came out on top at Wembley, despite being given no space to operate by Germany’s relentless and well-oiled press.

Even during the periods when England struggled to keep the ball, notably between Magull’s equaliser and Kelly’s dramatic winner, and looked to have run out of energy and ideas, Walsh continued to build possession from the base of midfield and snuff out opposition advances.

In Pictures | Women’s Euro 2022 Final: England vs Germany

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
(The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)
(PA Wire)
(PA Wire)
(The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)
(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

As is her custom, the 25-year-old has largely avoided the spotlight this summer but she was one of a number of Lionesses who could easily have been named player of the tournament, an honour which eventually went to Golden Boot winner Beth Mead.

Without Walsh’s nose for danger and ability to keep possession, England would have struggled to come through both the tests against Spain, who were led by their own inspirational ­playmaker in Aitana Bonmatí, and last night.

Like many of Wiegman’s squad, Walsh has had to overcome adversity to make history and there were times during the 2019 World Cup when she genuinely did not want to play for England.

In France three years ago, Walsh found the criticism of her game almost too much to bear, and she has since admitted that she did not enjoy England’s run to the semi-final under Phil Neville. Now, no one is criticising Walsh whose qualities were key to England’s triumph.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting