How England can topple Germany in Euro 2022 final and claim historic Wembley triumph

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·3-min read
How England can topple Germany in Euro 2022 final and claim historic Wembley triumph
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It’s such a “wow” moment to see England in the final! We all hoped they’d get there, and in my first column before the tournament started, I said we needed the nation to become emotionally invested in this team. All of that has happened, not least because of the manner in which they’ve reached the last two: with style, flair and overcoming tough moments.

So, the question now is: How do you beat Germany and win the thing? Before we even come on to tactics, there’s the question of how England handle the occasion — nearly 90,000 fans at Wembley, the biggest game of their lives.

If you were being hyper-critical, you’d say they’ve struggled in moments, at least at the start of games. You think of the sold-out opener at Old Trafford and then the two knockout matches, where they started slowly and looked a little bit nervy. It was the same in the group game against Norway (admittedly, before going on to score eight!). It’s something the Germany manager, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, has already said her side will try to capitalise on.

So, England need to find a way to deal with it and that’s where Sarina Wiegman comes in. That could be the difference between this England team and the one that lost those big semi-finals in the past. The players can look at the touchline and see a coach who has been there and done it. There’s a sense of calmness in that.

Then it’s a case of trying to hurt Germany, who are so organised, so well-drilled. They’ve conceded just one goal all tournament — and that was only because a shot hit the post, hit the ‘keeper and went in! They had 30 per cent possession against Spain in the group stage, but were clearly the better side and won 2-0. That tells you just how strong they are off the ball.

In Pictures | Women’s Euro 2022 (Semi-Final): England vs Sweden - Lionesses celebrate victory

England’s Ellen White, Hannah Hampton celebrate and teammates celebrate (REUTERS)
England’s Ellen White, Hannah Hampton celebrate and teammates celebrate (REUTERS)
Ella Toone and Rachel Daly of England celebrate (The FA via Getty Images)
Ella Toone and Rachel Daly of England celebrate (The FA via Getty Images)
England’s Beth Mead, left, celebrates after scoring her side’s first goal (AP)
England’s Beth Mead, left, celebrates after scoring her side’s first goal (AP)
England’s midfielder Fran Kirby celebrates after scoring her team fourth goal (AFP via Getty Images)
England’s midfielder Fran Kirby celebrates after scoring her team fourth goal (AFP via Getty Images)
Lucy Bronze of England celebrates scoring their side’s second goal (Getty Images)
Lucy Bronze of England celebrates scoring their side’s second goal (Getty Images)
Alessia Russo of England scores  a sublime back heel third goal whilst under pressure from Caroline Seger and Jonna Andersson of Sweden (Getty Images)
Alessia Russo of England scores a sublime back heel third goal whilst under pressure from Caroline Seger and Jonna Andersson of Sweden (Getty Images)
Alessia Russo of England celebrates scoring their side’s third goal (Getty Images)
Alessia Russo of England celebrates scoring their side’s third goal (Getty Images)
England’s coach Sarina Wiegman celebrates with England’s midfielder Jill Scott (AFP via Getty Images)
England’s coach Sarina Wiegman celebrates with England’s midfielder Jill Scott (AFP via Getty Images)
England players celebrate in the dressing room after their sides victory (The FA via Getty Images)
England players celebrate in the dressing room after their sides victory (The FA via Getty Images)
England’s Leah Williamson, left, and Ellen White celebrate (AP)
England’s Leah Williamson, left, and Ellen White celebrate (AP)
The England team form a huddle following victory (The FA via Getty Images)
The England team form a huddle following victory (The FA via Getty Images)

To trouble Germany, England really have to get at them in one-v-one situations, be very direct, very brave and not give them time to get set. They need to use the wings and get Lauren Hemp and Beth Mead doing what they do best, driving at people and get Lucy Bronze bombing on, because if there is a weakness, it’s probably down Germany’s left, where France had some joy in the semi-final.

They won’t want to get sucked into a midfield battle. Germany have three such tenacious players in there, who win the ball back so quickly in transitions, whereas England play that more attacking shape with Fran Kirby as a No10 and I just think they’d be in danger of being overrun.

I think the difference for Sunday’s final could come from the bench

Lena Oberdorf, in particular, has been on another level and is such a talent. She and Keira Walsh aren’t going to be in a direct battle, per se, because they both play from deep, but those two will be pivotal in deciding who dictates the game.

And of course, there’s a certain Alexandra Popp, who can literally pop up from anywhere and wreak havoc in front of goal.

I think the difference could lie from the bench. The two starting XIs are so evenly matched, but if England can take the game deep, that’s where their real strength lies. They can turn to that spark of inspiration from an Ella Toone or, of course, an Alessia Russo to bring the trophy home…Come on England!

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