Beauty and Beast – the two goals that made England European champions

Beauty and Beast - the two goals that made England European champions - GETTY IMAGES

Beauty and Beast – the two goals that made England European champions – GETTY IMAGES

The first was beauty, a great goal and the best play in direct attack with a great finishing touch.

The second was the beast, a broken, crumpled toe-poke as the ball bounced and bounced around the six-yard box and ended with a toe-poke.

These are the two goals that beat Germany in extra time, ending a 56-year wait for an England team to win a major trophy and finally bring football home.

Ella Toone and England's celebrations continued into the night - GETTY IMAGES

Ella Toone and England’s celebrations continued into the night – GETTY IMAGES


England were under the water, In fact, Germany looked the better side, thinner and more threatening. This was the most worrying period of the match. The Germans felt their hosts were there for the taking and fans in the crowd began to worry. Everyone of a patriotic persuasion was getting nervous.

This is the context for what happened next and we have to start with Kiera Walsh, who was England’s quarter back. the deep-lying midfield playmaker throughout this tournament and one Germany player had taken particular care to keep quiet. Or at least they tried to, by fair means or foul.

But on this occasion, Walsh collected possession in some space. It was deep into their own half, though, and the women in green shirts prepared for a short forward pass. They had put those passes away since the start of the second half and were ready to do it again.

This time, however, Walsh looked further up the pitch. He had the time to do it and realized that sometimes you have to do the unexpected. you have to take risks and not stick to the game plan no matter what you do.

England were trying to get through Germany’s midfield and the opposition were winning that battle. It was the right time to launch the long-range weapons. This time the element of surprise was key.

Ella Toun had made the run and screamed above the noise, one hand raised to indicate she was going to try to gallop into the space behind the German high line defence.

It’s a simple move to defend against if you try to do it all the time, but as a sneak attack it was devastating.

The pass from Walsh was brilliant, struck with the perfect speed, weight, curve and distance, not only to get over the German centre-back’s head, but to bounce once and, crucially, hold high on the turf to run Toone. and take it into her own hands. It was laser-guided perfection. We’re talking millimeters perfect.

Walsh had done well, but Toon still had a lot to do. Her first touch was strong, getting the ball under control and away from the retreating defender, but quickly closed down.

Looking up, Toone had plenty of time to think about what she was going to do. For some players, this is a problem rather than a boon – not an England change.

Toone watched goalkeeper Merie Frohms get far enough off her line to try something ambitious.

Under pressure from behind, Toone chipped in from the edge of the area like an artist signing his name to a masterpiece. The ball seemed to go too high and too fast as it went over the goalkeeper’s head. The ball was curling too, it could have gone out as the pitch held its breath but it dipped and dropped, the ball coming down just short of the corner of the post and crossbar into the top corner of the net.

Toone chooses her position - PA

Toone chooses her position – PA

Toone has no issue with the impetuous Frohms - PA

Toone has no issue with the impetuous Frohms – PA

While Frohms looks back in despair, Toone does not celebrate - PA

While Frohms looks back in despair, Toone does not celebrate – PA

The monster

Germany’s equalizer could easily have hit England’s stuff, but with the prospect of penalties looming, England produced an ugly, scrappy goal that owed as much to their fighting spirit as a clever set-piece routine.

Lauren Hemp swung into the corner, an inswinger from right. It was a dangerous one, coiled in the corridor of uncertainty just outside the six-yard box. It may well have been intended for Lucy Bronze’s head, but despite falling short, Bronze collected her marker and managed to get a thigh in the air and send the ball bouncing and spinning towards the middle of the goal.

Chloe Kelly isn’t known as a goal poacher, but the way she used her body to beat another defender out of the way, letting the ball run into her body was key. This opened up a close-range shooting opportunity that panicked the Germans.

Germany had the bodies back, theoretically to clear, but when Kelly failed to make the right connection with the first attempt, she actually helped the Manchester City player as all Frohms could do was save with her feet her.

The loose ball fell perfectly for Kelly, who extended a telescoping leg to send a firmer jab into the gap between keeper and defender (watch in the video below).

There was a split second of confusion after Kelly had hit her top and revealed a Nike sports bra – a nod to America’s iconic winning goal scored by Brandy Chastain at the 1999 World Cup – as England players briefly thought that the referee had fallen. a foul in the thunderous noise of the celebrations.

He hadn’t and Kelly sprinted off into the arms of the alternates and disappeared under a sea of ​​bodies.

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