Women’s Euros 2022: Germany pip France to set up a final with England
Alex Popp was once again Germany’s hero as she scored a goal in each half to deny an impressive France team in Milton Keynes and book a UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 final meeting with England on Sunday.
The first 40 minutes was taut, with both teams testing for weaknesses without ever overcommitting, but the shackles well and truly came off before the break. First Popp – whose free-kick had been brilliantly denied earlier by Pauline Peyraud-Magnin – got across her marker to slam home Svenja Huth’s cross on the volley.
France weren’t behind for long. Moments before the break, Kadidiatou Diani danced in from the left before unleashing a powerful effort that swerved onto the inside of the near post, ricocheted off Merle Frohms’ back and into the net. With two lusty blows landed, the sides regrouped and got back behind their jabs.
Slowly France began to inject some pace and, spurred on by the waspish Selma Bacha and the more direct running of Diani, they began to ask the Germany back line more and more questions. Popp had the answer.
With 14 minutes remaining, her side finally escaped their own half and, like a team that has won this title eight times, made it count as Huth floated in a ball following broken play. Popp rose imperiously to power in her header – and book Germany their place in a ninth final.
Germany are through to a record ninth Women’s EURO final.
Germany’s win was their ninth in ten Women’s EURO semi-finals, and seventh in succession. Their sole defeat came in 1993, on penalties against Italy.
Popp’s opening goal was the 100th at the Women’s EURO for Germany, the eight-time winners becoming the first team to reach that landmark.
Popp is the first player to score in five successive Women’s EURO matches. Compatriot Heidi Mohr scored in four, spread across three tournaments (1989, 1991 and 1993).
France’s equaliser was the first Germany have conceded at Women’s EURO 2022, ending a record 404 minutes without being breached.
Popp’s second of the game took her to six for the tournament, equalling the all-time record shared by Inka Grings (Germany, 2009) and Beth Mead (England, 2022).