England won its first ever major women’s championship in dramatic fashion, beating Germany 2-1 after extra-time in the Euro 2022 Final at Wembley Stadium.
A record crowd of 87,192 for a European Championship final — men’s or women’s — watched as Chloe Kelly’s first international goal fired the Lionesses to victory over the eight-time winner.
After three defeats at the final hurdle, goals from Kelly and Ella Toone canceled out Lina Magull’s equalizer and sealed the dream ending to a stunning tournament run. A swashbuckling road to the final included a Euro-record 22 goals scored and just two conceded, an 8-0 demolition of world No. 11 Norway and a 4-0 dismantling of the world’s second-highest ranked team Sweden.
With head coach Sarina Wiegman having never lost a European Championship game — nor a game in charge of England — and Germany having never lost a Euro final, one record had to tumble at Wembley, the site of an agonizing defeat for the men’s team at the same stage just over a year ago.
And despite only beating Germany twice in their previous 27 meetings, Wiegman’s players battled to a hard-fought victory to extend the Dutch coach’s impressive streak and spark scenes of pure, unbridled joy at the home of English football.
That euphoria was encapsulated by the celebrations of the match winner, who offered up one of thegreat post-match interviews when she spoke to the BBC. Bouncing around, shouting and dancing, Kelly serenaded viewers with England’s adopted anthem, Neil Diamond’s classic “Sweet Caroline,” before running off with the microphone.
Upon her eventual return, the Manchester City forward — having suffered an ACL injury in May last year — reflected on the peak of the ultimate comeback story.
“Honestly, it’s amazing,” she said. “This is what dreams are made of. As a young girl watching women’s football, this is amazing. Thank you to everyone who played a part in my rehab. I always believed I would be here.”
Captain Leah Williamson added: “I just can’t stop crying. We talk, we talk and we talk and we finally done it … this is the proudest moment of my life.
“The legacy of this tournament is the change in society. The legacy of this team is winners and that is the journey. I love every single one of you, I’m so proud to be English.”
Victory marked the culmination of a 13-year-long redemption arc for midfielder Jill Scott, the only member of the Lionesses squad to have featured in the 6-2 mauling suffered at the hands of Germany in the 2009 final.
Subbed on towards the end of regular time, the 35-year-old became the first England player to have played in two major international finals.
“I actually can’t believe it,” Scott said. “We have an incredible group of staff. What a day. The young players have been fantastic, so grateful for every moment of this team.
“I don’t think I’m going to sleep this week!”