Germany will go in search of their ninth European Championship title on Sunday as they booked their place in the Euro 2022 final with a 2-1 victory over France on Wednesday evening.
Goals from Alexandra Popp either side of half time set up an encounter with England on Sunday in a repeat of the Euro 2009 final.
A pulsating, end to end encounter saw the deadlock broken by Germany six minutes before the break. Jule Brand combined neatly with Svenja Huth down the right flank, and the latter’s delivery was crashed into the roof of the net by Popp.
Their lead would not last long, as France levelled on the cusp of half time. Diani’s arrowing snapshot from range cannoned off the post and into the net off the unfortunate Merle Frohms.
Selma Bacha entered the fray and Diani moved to the number nine role at half time, and the switch almost paid dividends for France just after the hour mark.
The latter burst beyond the Germany backline and picked out the former, but her effort was blocked by the head of Kathrin-Julia Hendrich. From the resulting corner, Wendie Renard drew a good stop from Frohms with a back post header.
However, it was Germany who retook the lead with 14 minutes remaining. Huth again provided the assist with a curling cross from the right, and Popp rose highest to plant a bullet header past Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.
Bacha sent a fizzing effort narrowly passed the post as France went hunting for an equaliser, but it wasn’t to be as Germany booked their place in the Euro 2022 final.
GK: Merle Frohms – 6/10 – Unfortunate with the France equaliser as it cannoned off the post and in off the back of her. Made a great stop to keep out Renard from a corner in the second half.
RB: Giulia Gwinn – 8/10 – Produced a clever back heel in build up to Germany’s opening goal. Such an aggressive, tenacious defender, hardly giving Cascarino an inch of space.
CB: Kathrin-Julia Hendrich – 6/10 – Conceded possession and played Diani onside in the build up to France’s equaliser. Made a big block with her head to keep out Bacha in the second half.
CB: Marina Hegering – 6/10 – Kept Malard quiet in the first half, struggled a bit with the pace of Diani in the second.
LB: Felicitas Rauch – 5/10 – Struggled a bit against Diani in the first half, and France saw plenty of joy down the Germany left in the second.
CM: Lena Oberdorf – 9/10 – Such a terrific reader of the game. A real asset breaking up play offensively and building play in possession. What a tournament the youngster is having.
CM: Lina Magull – 6/10 – Produced a pretty horrendous dive in the first half much to Renard’s distaste. Full of bursting runs into the box, replaced with 20 minutes remaining.
CM: Sara Dabritz – 6/10 – Calm and collected without setting the world alight. So important to Germany’s endless harrying and pressing. Replaced with 20 minutes remaining.
RW: Jule Brand – 7/10 – In the thick of the action for the goal, combining well with Huth. Lively throughout.
ST: Alexandra Popp – 9/10 – Came close to opening the scoring with a free kick from the edge of the box, before breaking the deadlock with a smart late run and emphatic finish. Netted her side’s second with a towering header.
LW: Svenja Huth – 8/10 – Picked out Popp for Germany’s opener, drifting to the right flank and sending in a teasing cross, before providing the delivery for Germany’s second.
SUB: Sydney Lohmann – 6/10
SUB: Linda Dallmann – 6/10
SUB: Sara Doorsoun-Khajeh – 6/10
SUB: Tabea Wassmuth – N/A
GK: Pauline Peyraud-Magnin – 6/10 – Produced a good save to keep out a Popp free kick in the first half. Couldn’t have done a great deal about either Germany goal.
RB: Eve Périsset – 5/10 – Lost the run of Popp in the build up to Germany’s opener, allowing the forward to get goal side and crash home.
CB: Wendie Renard – 6/10 – Wasn’t close enough to Huth in the build up to the Germany opener, giving the German forward far too much space to deliver. Almost gave France the lead with a back post header from a corner. Such a threat from set pieces, eased Germany forwards off the ball time after time with her terrific strength.
CB: Griedge Mbock Bathy – 6/10 – Produced a couple of heroic blocks in the second half as Germany came knocking, but out jumped by Popp for Germany’s second.
LB: Sakina Karchaoui – 6/10 – Combined well with Cascarino and Bacha, but unable to get forward as frequently as in previous games. Both Germany goals came down the France left.
CM: Charlotte Bilbault – 5/10 – Largely overwhelmed by the dynamic Germany midfield and unable to have a huge influence on proceedings.
CM: Sandie Toletti – 5/10 – France struggled with Germany’s constant harrying and pressuring in midfield.
CM: Grace Geyoro – 6/10 – Linked play well and travelled from box to box with her endless energy, but lost the battle with the terrific Oberdorf.
RW: Kadidiatou Diani – 8/10 – Helped to pull France level on the stroke of half time with a scorching drive from range. Moved to the central striker role at half time and caused chaos with her pace and quick feet.
ST: Melvine Malard – 4/10 – Left to feed off scraps, before being replaced at half time.
LW: Delphine Cascarino – 6/10 – Bursting with energy and always eager to get on the ball, but limited in her ability to have any lasting attacking impact on the game by the industrious Gwinn.
SUB: Selma Bacha – 7/10 – Looked dangerous after being introduced at half time.
SUB: Clara Matéo – 5/10
SUB: Ouleymata Sarr – 5/10