2009: Inka Grings
Sunday, January 31, 2010
For the second UEFA European Women's Championship running, Inka Grings was top scorer in a Germany triumph, having been out of international football for most of the intervening period.
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The top scorer at UEFA Women's EURO 2009 in Finland was the same as four years earlier in England – Germany striker Inka Grings. Yet she had barely played international football for most of the intervening period.
Grings came to prominence as a teenager when she joined FCR Duisburg (now FCR 2001 Duisburg) in 1995 and immediately emerged as one of the most prolific scorers in Germany. A year after moving to Duisburg she made her senior international debut against Finland, and helped Germany to 2000 Olympic bronze.
However, prior to 2005 Grings had not been part of a major tournament triumph – injured for the 2001 EURO and the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup. She put that right in England, having already scored eight goals in qualifying. Grings struck in the 3-0 group win against France, added two more to beat Finland 4-1 in the semis and her goal in the 3-1 final defeat of Norway ensured she finished top scorer.
By the end of the year, though, Grings had dropped out of the national squad and after continued prolific form for Duisburg was only recalled for a February 2009 friendly with China – where she scored within two minutes.
With Birgit Prinz now in a more withdrawn role, Grings led the line in Finland and again scored in a group game against France, which Germany won 5-1, and again in a 13-minute appearance versus Iceland where she came on at half-time and struck for a 1-0 win before injuring her knee.
Speculation she could miss the quarter-final against Italy proved unfounded – Grings scored both goals in a 2-1 win. With Norway defeated in the last four, England awaited Germany in the final and with 62 minutes gone in a thrilling match the holders were only 3-2 up.
It was time for Grings to strike and she headed in a Kerstin Garefrekes cross before 11 minutes later beating Anita Asante and Faye White and scoring again. Not content with that, Grings set up Prinz to seal a 6-2 win but her personal tally of six finals goals was a record and her career total of ten equalled Heidi Mohr's record.
After the triumph, Grings told UEFA.com: "It couldn't be better for me and the whole team. It was an incredible game and a dream came true tonight after all the personal setbacks over the last few years." By then she had already helped Duisburg win the UEFA Women's Cup and the following season was Frauen-Bundesliga top scorer for the sixth time in 12 years. She eventually retired from international football in July 2012 after helping Germany qualify for yet another EURO.