England ended their wait for a big trophy when Chloe Kelly’s extra-time winner gave them a 2-1 win over Germany in the final of the European Women’s Championship.
In front of a record crowd of 87,192 at Wembley Stadium, England took the lead through substitute Ella Toone before being held off by Germany’s Lina Magull.
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But Kelly provided the perfect finish for England after coming on as a substitute, scoring in the 110th minute to give the Lionesses their first triumph in a major tournament and England’s first for men or women since the 1966 World Cup Lauren Hemp’s corner fell to the Manchester City striker, who poked past Frohms on the second try. After a brief moment of confusion, Kelly ripped off her shirt and celebrated wildly.
England captain Leah Williamson called the title “the proudest moment of my life” in emotional post-game scenes at Wembley Stadium.
“I just can’t stop crying,” Williamson said. “We talk, we talk and we talk and we finally got it done. You know what, the kids are fine. This is the proudest moment of my life.
“Listen, the legacy of this tournament is the change in society. This team’s legacy is winners and that is the journey. I love each and every one of you, I’m so proud to be English. I’m trying so hard not to swear.”
Consistency was key for England on their way to the final, so it came as no surprise when manager Sarina Wiegman fielded the same starting XI for a sixth straight season – the first team to do so in either men’s or women’s EURO history.
Germany were shaken when their top scorer Alexandra Popp was pulled from the starting XI after a muscular problem in warm-up before a free-kick. She was replaced by Lea Schuller.
That gave England a boost and they got almost the perfect start early on when Fran Kirby rolled in a cross for Ellen White, who headed the Lionesses’ record goalscorer straight at Germany goalkeeper Merle Frohms.Chloe Kelly gave England their first major tournament victory. Getty Images
Germany almost took the lead in the 25th minute after a shot on target from a Magull corner. Germany defender Marina Hegering threatened from close range before England goalkeeper Mary Earps claimed to parry the threat. Wiegman’s side were relieved when a VAR check for a handball went nowhere.
England ended an ambivalent first half strongly and could have taken the lead in the 38th minute when Beth Mead White hit the box with a cutback, but the striker fired wide with a left foot as she stretched to make contact.
Since the momentum shifted to the hosts, national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg made an early change at half-time and brought in Tabea Wassmuth for Jule Brand.
This change gave Germany new meaning and they fired a warning shot when Magull flicked a good chance past Earps’ right post in the 50th minute after a clever turn in the box.
Wiegman sensed the danger and sent her two super substitutes Toone and Alessia Russo. And it was Toone who put England ahead in style in the 62nd minute when he ran onto a fine through ball from Keira Walsh before throwing a finish over Frohms to send Wembley delirious.
Germany rose to the challenge and almost equalized when Magull fired into the box in the 66th minute. Her right-footed shot smacked over the bar before Schuller failed to parry the rebound.
Magull was Germany’s liveliest player and finally made the difference in the 79th minute. Wassmuth sent a low cross into the box and Magull hit a lateral foot home at the near post to temporarily silence the England fans.
Toone’s long-range shot was parried by Frohms’ foot in extra time before Kelly sent England into dreamland again with the winner.
“It doesn’t seem real,” Toone said. “I’m buzzing my head off. Honestly the best moment of my career, the best moment of my life. I’m so proud to be a part of this group.”
Her victory over a country that had previously beaten so many English sides – both men and women – also earned a congratulatory message from Queen Elizabeth.
“Your success goes well beyond the trophy you so deserved. You all set an example that will be an inspiration to girls and women today and for generations to come,” the Queen wrote.
“I hope you are as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of today’s result.”
Information from Portal contributed to this report.