Women's Euros: Popp eyes glory as Golden Boot battle with Mead comes down to Wembley final

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Alexandra Popp said it would be "the icing on the cake" if she wins the Golden Boot and Germany lift the trophy in Sunday's Euro 2022 final against England.

Popp appears to be in a straight shoot-out with England's Beth Mead for the top goalscorer prize, with both players having netted six goals from five games.

Having returned from a long knee injury lay-off to make her mark, the 31-year-old Germany captain instinctively ranks winning the tournament far above the prospect of an individual accolade.

She converted two crosses from Svenja Huth, one with a smart volley and the other with a powerful header, as Germany beat France 2-1 in Wednesday's semi-final.

Mead was among the scorers as England crushed Sweden 4-0 on Tuesday to become the first team into the Wembley showpiece match.

Popp spoke after Germany's win of why it was not all about her.

"I have to disappoint you. I have to put the team in the foreground again, because if I don't get balls like that into the box, I can't score the goals. And that's where I benefit immensely from the girls," Popp said.

"Of course it makes me very happy and very proud that I get these balls and that I have the opportunity to score and that I have managed, together with the coaching team, with the team, to get back to being a goal-scoring threat like I used to be, when I didn't play for a long time.

"That makes me very, very proud. And it's not my first goal to say that I absolutely want to be the top scorer. The first goal is clearly to win the European Championship.

"If the icing on the cake is then added and I have the opportunity, then of course it would be nice. But if that doesn't happen and three other goals are scored by us and we end up as European champions, then I'll be happy too."

Popp's first-half opener made her the first player in the history of the Women's Euros to score in five successive games, having also netted in each of Germany's four previous victories.

That was Germany's 100th goal in the history of the tournament, making them the first side to reach a century of goals.

Alexandra Popp goals
Alexandra Popp goals

Germany have now reached the final of the Women's Euros in nine of their 11 appearances in the tournament, only failing to do so in 1993 and 2017.

Head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said she felt "pure pride" at the achievement, saying the semi-final game had been "super exhausting".

It opens up the possibility of another Wembley triumph for Germany.

The men's team were crowned European champions at England's national stadium in 1996, when Oliver Bierhoff was the two-goal hero in a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic.

Former striker Bierhoff is now managing director of Germany's national teams and saluted the achievements of the women's team.

"We are overjoyed, also because of the way the team performs here," Bierhoff said. "You can feel the conviction and the fun of achieving something. You can also feel that they now want to take this final step."

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