Euro 2022 Final: Live Updates

Rory Smith

LONDON — Sarina Wiegman and her players know deep down that the most important victory has already been won. The spoils can be measured not only by the record attendance and crowd that England’s run at Euro 2022 has generated, but also by the heaving pubs and the ubiquitous jerseys and, on Sundays, the overcrowded trains making their way to Wembley Stadium for the final against Germany.

It will also be clear in a few years, as England captain Leah Williamson said, when this tournament is seen as a ‘game-changer’ for women’s football in England, certainly and probably across Europe.

The problem with top sport, however, is that it’s not that simple. The impact of Euro 2022 on the general public will of course not change whether England can take that final step and become European champions for the first time on Sunday, but the way the players remember it certainly will. It is one thing to inspire a nation in glory. It’s another thing to do it with regret. The victory that matters to England is not the philosophical one, but the conceptual one. It’s the one that’s reached in 90 minutes, on a field.

Credit…Glyn Kirk/Agence France Presse — Getty Images

It’s also achievable. England have swept through this tournament with such poise and grandeur that even Wiegman admitted the group stage was “relatively easy”. Her team has only struggled once, in a fraught quarter-final against Spain; that game also brought in the only goal Mary Earps has conceded. The host should be the favorite.

The only caveat is that Germany is not a convincing underdog. The side of Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has the aura of a team in transition, with an older generation gradually giving way to a younger one, led by the indomitable Lena Oberdorf, but Germany’s pedigree in this tournament is impeccable: it has been crowned champion of Europe after all eight times, and it has never lost a final it has reached. This iteration has gained momentum throughout the tournament, confident and diligent. It also knows that this is the victory that matters, the victory on which everything depends.

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