Germany beats France 2-0 to advance to sold-out women’s European Championship final against England at Wembley

Germany hosted a historic and record-breaking women’s European Championship final against host nation England at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Tickets for the final at London’s Wembley Stadium – with a capacity of 87,200 – are sold out. The stadium is the largest sports complex in the United Kingdom and the second largest stadium in Europe.

Anything close to a full house for the final would easily beat the all-time highest Euro-Euro entry, which currently stands at 68,871 for the opening game of this England v Austria tournament at Old Trafford.

The highest attendance ever for an international women’s soccer match is 90,185, for the final of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup between the US and China.

The turnout and viewing figures were at an all-time high for the 2022 edition of the European Championship, and that trend continued in the two semi-finals.

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The Lionesses’ 4-0 victory over Sweden drew the biggest crowd of all time for the semi-finals of the European Women’s Championship, with 28,624 in attendance at Bramall Lane.

The match also attracted a peak audience of 9.3 million across BBC television and streaming services – the largest audience for the tournament to date.

By comparison, the highest peak audience for women’s football in the UK is 11.7 million, when England lost to the United States in the semi-finals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

The semi-final between Germany and France drew 27,445 spectators in Milton Keynes on Wednesday, the highest number for a European Women’s European Championship semi-final that did not involve the host team.

It continues an overall trend of rising attendances for women’s football in Europe this year, with 91,553 and 91,648 attending the Champions League quarter and semi-finals hosted by Barcelona.

This year’s European Championship tournament is also by far the most attended tournament in history, with the previous total of 240,055 spectators during the group stage.

90,000 at Wembley: ‘Honestly, there’s nothing better’

German captain Alex Popp was the hero for her side on Wednesday, after the scores tied at 1-1 and both teams missed opportunities.

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She had scored the opening goal for Germany in the 40th minute, but that lead lasted less than five minutes before France equalized. It was the first time that Germany had conceded to the tournament.

In the 76th minute, Popp again proved the difference by jumping above the French defense and sending a bouncing header into the French goal.

Popp has scored in all five of Germany’s matches so far – a new record – after missing the last two European Championships in 2013 and 2017 due to injuries.

Alex Popp celebrates scoring the decisive goal against France at the European Women's Championship
Alex Popp has scored a new record in all five of Germany’s matches so far. (Getty Images: Harriet Lander)

Popp now takes on England’s Beth Mead with the two players who are the top scorers of the tournament, with six goals each.

“I can’t find the words. We played a crazy game, we threw in everything we had,” Popp told German broadcaster ZDF.

“We are now in the final against England for 90,000 at Wembley. Honestly, there is nothing better.”

Leah Williamson jumps on Mary Earps' back as they celebrate a goal against Sweden in the Euro 2022 semi-finals
Germany will face England goalkeeper Mary Earps and her side in the European Championship final.(Getty Images: Visionhaus)

A late wave wasn’t enough as France didn’t come close to what would have been a first major tournament final, having lost in the semi-finals of each of the World Cup, Olympic Games and European Championships.

Before the match, the German players posed with the number 19 shirt of winger Klara Bühl, who had started all four previous games but missed the semi-finals after testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The decider between England and Germany will be the first women’s European Championship final to be held at Wembley, with the stadium hosting the men’s final twice, in 1996 and 2021.

with AP

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