Europe: Euro Women
2 - 1
(1 - 1)
Germany W
France W
A. Popp (40), M. Frohms (44), A. Popp (76)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Determined and superb Popp sends German women through to Euro Final

A stunning performance from captain Alexandra Popp sent the German women's national team through to the 2022 UEFA European Championship Final on Wednesday. 

Wembley Stadium is already sold out as the German women get set to take on hosts England on Sunday in one of football's most hallowed cathedrals. 

After Popp bagged a brace in the 2-1 defeat of France, the DFB skipper and England's Beth Mead are tied with six goals apiece in the race for the tournament's Golden Boot. 
For fans of women's football, the so-called "dream Final" between hosts England and record-champions Germany is on Sunday at Wembley. Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's German women's national team defeat France 2-1 in a semi-final matchup Wednesday at the MK stadium. Another true captain's performance from skipper Alexandra Popp saw the 31-year-old bag a brace with two brilliant technical goals. Alternate captain Svenja Huth assisted on both tallies

Bundestrainerin Voss-Tecklenburg had once enforced change to make to her lineup after attacker Klara Bühl was forced in quarantine after testing positive for COVID. As expected, 19-year-old Jule Brand came in to deputize. Apart from the one change, the DFB Mädels lined up exactly as they did in the quarterfinal victory against Austria. French head-coach Corinne Diacre made no changes to the XI that took 120 minutes to oust the Dutch 1-0 in their quarterfinal matchup on Saturday.

There wasn't much between the two defensively oriented teams during the opening 20 minutes of action. Both sides sought to spring their speediest actors on quick counters, yet general passing inaccuracies precluded anyone from breaking through. The Germans were gradually able to make some pinpricks just outside the area, drawing fouls in the process. Popp was able to generate the first real chance in the game in the 22nd off of a free-kick.

Popp forced French keeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin into a full sprawl save with a skillful stinging effort straight through a gap in the French wall. The game opened up a bit after Popp's first shot on target. There remained little flow to the affair, however, as the pattern of foul stoppages soon took over again. Five minutes before it was time to head into the dressing rooms, Germany were able to take the lead on an excellent team sequence.

Some nice interplay from Brand and Felicitas Rauch on the right drew enough coverage for Svenja Huth to come charging in unmarked and unleash a potent cross. Popp did an amazing job getting one step ahead of her marker, Eve Perisset, and hit the ball first-time with her left foot on a brilliant technical finish that bulged the top of the net.

France were nevertheless able to equalize before the end of the half. In the 45th, Kadidiatou Diani shook off tight coverage from Kathrin Hendrich rifled a distance effort at goal that struck the post. Most unfortunately for German keeper Merle Frohms, the ball ricocheted off her backside and went into the net. The score thus stood tied 1-1 on a recorded own-goal for Frohms.

Just as she did in the quarterfinal matchup against Holland, French trainer Diacre brought on spritely Lyon phenom Selma Bacha at the half. The Germans remained the more active side for the opening ten minutes of the second 45. The DFB Mädels circulated the ball well throughout their ranks, with passing and dribbling errors sadly preventing them from supplying anything truly dangerous.

Les Bleaus tried to wrest control of the match back from the 55th onwards. with the brisk and creative Bacha unsurprisingly taking the lead role. Bacha found herself frustrated by Popp's exquisite defensive track-back in the 58th and a magnificent save from Frohms in the 63rd. Frohms would make another vital stop on French captain Wendie Renard's header off the ensuing corner.

France continued to come on strong. Frohms had to make another strong positional save on Diani in the 67th. A double substitution from Voss-Tecklenburg (Sydney Lohmann and Linda Dallmann on for Sara Däbritz and Lina Magull in the 69th) did manage to flatten things out a bit, but Diacre's side were back on the front before too long. Again, Bacha proved difficult for the German outfielders to contain.

It did genuinely seem as if the tide was turning France's way. Germany's skipper simply had other ideas. After a frantic flurry in front of the French goal that saw two shots from Brand blocked in the 76th, the ball squirted out to Huth on the right. The DFB alternate captain sent in a blind cross. Incredibly, Popp snuck in between two French players attempting to contest the ball. Popp rose higher than the towering Renard to head home her sixth goal of the tournament.

It proved something of a never finish for the Mädels as the talented French side went in search of another equalizer. The Mädels did themselves no favors by conceding a series of free-kicks in dangerous areas during the final 15 minutes. Fortunately enough, Bacha and fellow substitute Clara Mateo were too inaccurate in their finishes. A pair of brave punches from Frohms in the 87th and at 90+5 also cleared dangerous balls.

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