Popp fires the Germany machine through to the Euro 2022 final.
Updated: Jul 29, 2022
Germany 2-1 France
Popp (40’, 76’) Frohms (o.g. 44’)
All it took for Germany to go from being overlooked, to being one of the favourites to get to the final, was a 4-0 demolition of Denmark in their first game.
They haven’t wavered since. And they are now in the final.
In a game played well above the speed limit, Alexandra Popp continued her race to make up for lost time, making it 6 goals in 5 games, firing in both of Germany’s goals, as they edged France.
France had opportunities, but really, Germany never looked that much like losing.
Before the 40 minute mark both teams were very much sizing each other up.
Both had set up strong defensive structures so neither were creating much at all from open play.
So much so, that there were first half Mexican waves occurring. Something needed to happen to cut that out - and it did.
Popp lashed Germany into the lead.
Frances defending was…how do you say - not great.
Wendie Renard backed off Svenja Huth and let the cross come in - it was all very Virgil Van Dijk in the Champions League final-esque, a very good defender doing something very questionable.
Popp rammed passed Eve Perisset like a freight train, to get to Huth’s cross first and divert it into the net. Popp is a woman on a mission.
This is where it came to life.
3 minutes later, Germany conceded their first
goal of the tournament. Kadidiatou Diani took a snap shot from outside the box. It went off the post, off Merle Frohms’ back and in. Not much Frohms’ could’ve done about it, the very early shot caught her and the defenders out. Game on.
France wasteful, Germany clinical.
The beginning of the second half wasn’t quite as lively as the end of the first.
France didn’t really have a kick, initially.
Their wide areas have been the best in the tournament but Germany’s nullification of
this area - and France’s poor attacking decision making - was summed up, when one of the standouts of the tournament Delphine Cascarino, was taken off for Clara Mateo.
It’s not like France didn’t have chances though. In fact, around the hour mark, they had three, good ones, in the space of 5 minutes:
Hendrich’s face saved a shot from Bacha.
Renard finally connected with a header properly from a corner. But headed it at Frohms.
Hegering played an awful back pass. Diani didn’t make the most of it, shooting from an impossible angle.
Popp made it 2-1 to Germany 10 minutes later.
France’s defending, again, not exquisite.
They made about 3 last ditch tackles to clear the ball after a sweeping Germany attack.
The ball that was cleared was let back in from the Germany’s right hand side with no real pressure. Popp cannoned in unmarked, doing what she does best, beating Griedge Mbock-Bathy to the ball, rifling in a header.
With 15 minutes remaining, it was all France’s to do.
France, again, had more opportunities - notably Selma Bacha, who plays like she’s in the park, going very very close with an outside of the foot half-volley.
As well as opportunities, they had Sandy Baltimore on the bench sigh. Corinne Diacre also opted not to pull out a classic and stick her (6 foot 2) centre half up front for the last few minutes.
For all of the 14 total attempts that France had, as has often been the case with them, not scoring a goal in the second half of any of their games in the tournament, they were not clinical.
Despite Malard, Sarr and Diani’s best efforts, the Marie-Antoinette Katoto shaped hole in France’s front line just could not be filled.
Once again, Germany do what they have to do.
Germany won by a marginal score line, but they just look so efficient.
They’ve got all the talent and bite they need going forward but work so hard and so competently defensively (minus Hegering’s astray back pass). Also, Lena Oberdorf is actually an anomaly she is so good - which always helps.
Only the final remains. England vs Germany, *cue the history lessons. The eight time winners vs the home nation. It had to be.