If you had a way to reliably watch the Women’s Euros on TV then count yourself lucky because that was a tournament for the ages. But for us Canadians, who despite living in a newly minted “soccer country”, had no national networks pick up this tournament, I’ve got 5 things you missed from the action in England.
1. Breaking Records for Breakfast
Even if you couldn’t watch these games, a simple Twitter scroll would show you that there was seemingly a new record being broken every day at the tournament. We had the biggest win in tournament history when England beat Norway 8-0 during their group stage. The score may be something to cringe at but Norway has a proud footballing tradition having won the title twice in their history.
On an individual level Beth Mead is the new leader in group stage goals with five and shares the title of being the only ones to score in all three group games with Germany’s Alexandra Popp. The two women also tied for the most goals ever scored in a Euros with six. Alessia Russo earned the title of Super Sub, eclipsing the previous record for most goals from the bench, finding the back of the net four times on home soil. And England bench boss Sarina Wiegman became the first coach to lift the trophy with two different countries after winning with the Netherlands in 2017. Oh and she secured both titles within a year of taking over the team.
But the record that speaks the loudest is of course that attendance record for the final between England and Germany at Wembley. With 87,192 fans on their feet from whistle to whistle, the 2022 Women’s Euro Final became the most attended game all-time in Euros history, from both the women’s and men’s side. There were more seats filled for England vs Germany than for any other women’s international game ever, with the previous record for a women’s game being 80,203 at the Olympic final between USA and Japan in 2012, ironically also at Wembley. Prior to this one, the most highly attended European final was back in 1964 for Spain and USSR at 79,115.
2. Alexandra Popp Makes Her Euros Debut
Remember those records I mentioned Popp setting? They make sense, right? Popp is a legend of the game with three Champions League titles, five Bundesliga titles, and an Olympic gold medal, which is why it makes so little sense that this was her first time on the Euros stage. Injuries kept her out of the previous two editions, and unfortunately sidelined her during the final, but she announced her arrival loud and proud, etching her name into the record books.
3. Conquering Curses
Recent editions of major tournaments have not seen a more iconic duo than France and getting eliminated at the quarter final mark. The team has been sent packing before the semis in the last three Euros and the last two World Cups. Until this year. Les Bleues drew the Dutch in their dreaded quarterfinal window. It was nail bitingly close to another early French exit while they controlled the run of play but couldn’t convert. Finally in extra time Eve Perisset converted from the spot, sending her squad to the semis.
4. Shades of 1999
Chloe Kelly was the MOMENT. Her go-ahead extra time goal in the final was aptly celebrated with the Brandy Chastain sports bra celebration and it was poetic. Not only was the youngster’s reaction priceless in and of itself but the ripping off of the shirt just felt like such a beautiful full circle moment for the growth of women’s soccer. When Chastain pulled the same move in 1999 it’s safe to say there were more haters than fans, it was the early days of women’s soccer having it’s stage, and I’m pretty sure they were expected to celebrate like girls. Not any more. Women have their stage. Women’s soccer is the moment. And Chloe Kelly has no haters.
5. It Came Home
For the first time since the men won the World Cup in 1966, England won a major title. More importantly for the growth of the game, it came home with the Lionesses, a program that has had to fight so hard against its own country for the respect they have long deserved. The serenades of Sweet Caroline said it all when it was all said and done.