England and Germany will face each other on Sunday evening in the final match of this year’s Euro 2022 tournament.
The final is to be played before a sold-out crowd of more than 87,000 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening.
Over the past three weeks the top women’s teams in Europe have been competing at stadiums around England, with the hosts on top form as they made it look easy to book a berth in the finals with a run of impressive wins against strong sides.
But the Germans are no pushovers, despite the bookmakers ranking them as slight underdogs ahead of the match. They’ve won eight European titles so far and looking to add a ninth.
“Playing a final against England here at Wembley Stadium – I don’t know if there will be or have been many greater sporting moments,” said Germany’s coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.
“It’s certainly one of the greatest moments. And in addition to what we’ve set out to do athletically, we’ve also set out to stay grounded and take everything we’ve just been privileged to experience,” she added.
Meanwhile England’s “Lionesses” are hoping to win their very first major international title on home soil.
Coach Sarina Wiegman has made a point of noting that there’s more at stake than victory alone.
“We want to inspire the nation,’’ Wiegman said after the team’s semifinal victory. “I think that’s what we’re doing and we want to make a difference – and we hope that we will get everyone so enthusiastic and proud of us and that even more girls and boys start playing football.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent a good luck message to England ahead of its Women’s European Championship final against Germany, saying on Saturday the team has shown that soccer “is not just for boys.”
“In any pride, it is the lionesses who ruthlessly hunt as a team and bring their prize back home and I am sure that will be the case against Germany,” said Johnson.
Women’s football was banned by the Football Association from English grounds from 1921 for more than half a century.
“Whatever happens at Wembley,” Johnson said, “I know that, come (Monday) morning, the pitches and playgrounds and parks of this country will be filled as never before with girls and women who know beyond any shadow of a doubt that football is not just for boys – it really is for everyone,” the outgoing PM said.
Despite the backing of record numbers of England fans in the stadium, and millions more watching on television at home, the Germans remain quietly confident of living up to their potential on Sunday.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, Germany Head Coach:
“Probably Wembley belongs to the English at the beginning,” said coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.
“And it would be very nice if it belongs to us at the end.”