LONDON — Sarina Wiegmann and her players know deep down that the most important victory has already been won. England’s run at Euro 2022 will be measured not only by record attendances and record attendances, but by heaving pubs and ubiquitous jerseys and packed trains heading to Wembley Stadium for the final, on Sunday. against Germany.
It will only be a few years from now when the tournament is seen as a “game-changer” for women’s football in England, as England captain Leah Williamson put it, and, of course, even across Europe.
The problem with elite sports is that it’s not that simple. The impact of Euro 2022 on the public will certainly not change, regardless of whether England can take that one final step and become European champions for the first time on Sunday, but the way the players will remember it certainly will. It is one thing to inspire a nation to glory. Doing it with regret is different. The important victory for England was ideological victory, not philosophy. It is one that can be achieved over 90 minutes at a stadium.
It is an attainable one. England have won the tournament with such poise and class that even Wickman admits the group stage was “relatively easy”. His team struggled just once in the quarter-finals against Spain; That game also brought the only goal Mary Earps gave up. The host must be a favorite.
The only caveat is that Germany is not a definitive underdog. Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s team has a team that has had the misfortune of change, the older generation has gradually given way to the younger, led by the indomitable Lena Oberdorf, but Germany’s pedigree in this tournament is impeccable: it was crowned champion. Europe has never lost in the finals it has reached, eight times, after all. This iteration has been steadily and surely picking up speed during the competition. And know that this success is important and depends on everything.
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