Hosts England claimed their first major honour in a tournament that was put back a year but took the women's game forward in record-breaking fashion.
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At UEFA Women's EURO 2017, Sarina Wiegman coached the hosts to the title. At UEFA Women's EURO 2022, Sarina Wiegman coached the hosts to the title. But the finals in England were otherwise a collection of the unprecedented.
Postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the disruption did not reduce enthusiasm for the finals, with advance ticket sales alone ensuring the old aggregate attendance record of 240,055 would be broken. The final number was 574,875 after 87,192 watched the epic Wembley decider (a record for a men's or women's EURO finals match), where Wiegman's England claimed their first major title, beating Germany 2-1 in extra time.
Another UK team, Northern Ireland, were the story of qualifying, having started ranked 32nd of the entrants but unexpectedly reaching the play-offs, where they defeated Ukraine to earn a major tournament debut. Their games in Southampton were lost to Norway, Austria and England but their achievement showed a new strength in depth to the European game, and Julie Nelson wrote herself into competition history by finding the net against Norway at the age of 37 years 33 days to become the oldest Women's EURO goalscorer.
England topped Group A, following their 1-0 defeat of Austria in front of a then-competition record crowd of 68,871 with a competition-record 8-0 win against Norway. Austria pipped Norway to second place thanks to a 1-0 victory on Matchday 3.
Beth Mead scored in all England's group games, unprecedented in a Women's EURO, but matched in Group B by Germany's Alex Popp. Injured in 2013 and 2017, Popp's belated finals debut came in a 4-0 defeat of 2017 runners-up Denmark, and she also struck in the 2-0 win against Spain and 3-0 victory versus Finland. Having both also defeated Finland, Spain edged out Denmark 1-0 with a last-minute goal to progress.
Holders Netherlands and Sweden drew their opener 1-1 then both defeated Portugal (a late replacement for suspended Russia) and Switzerland to go through. Sweden ended top on goal difference while the Netherlands' concluding 4-1 defeat of Switzerland was watched by 22,596 in Sheffield, the most ever for a group game not involving the hosts.
France set out their intention in the opener against Italy thanks to Grace Geyoro scoring the competition's inaugural first-half hat-trick. They won 5-1 and won the group with a game to spare by beating Belgium 2-1. However, Belgium overcame Italy 1-0 to reach the knockouts for the first time, Iceland equalising at the death in vain against France, the only time a team had drawn all three Women's EURO group matches.
The quarter-finals were close. England came from behind to beat Spain 2-1 in extra time with a Georgia Stanway thunderbolt, Popp struck again as Germany overcame Austria 2-0, Linda Sembrant scored in added time as Sweden edged Belgium 1-0 and France ended the Netherlands' reign with a 1-0 extra-time success.
If England showed grit against Spain, they turned on the style against Sweden in the semi-final, winning 4-0 with the highlight an Alessia Russo back-heel that made her the first player to score four goals as a substitute over a Women's EURO. Mead got her sixth goal of the finals, equalling Inka Grings's record, and that was matched a day later by Popp as she got both in Germany's 2-1 win against France, the first time a player had scored in five straight finals matches.
But as Wembley filled up for the final, Popp suffered a warm-up injury that ruled her out. England named the same XI for the sixth time though again it was substitutes that made the difference, Ella Toone's calm chip putting them ahead. Although Lina Magull forced extra time, Chloe Kelly got the winner, her ecstatic celebrations competing with Leah Williamson lifting the trophy as the image on the next day's front pages in England.
England avenged their 6-2 final defeat by Germany in 2009, their tally of 22 goals overtaking the record set 13 years earlier by that edition's champions. Wiegman became the first coach to win with two different nations and said: "What we've done is incredible. I knew we had England behind us — we saw that coming to the stadium. But during the whole tournament we've had so much support from our fans. I'm so proud of the team."