Germany captain and semi-final goalscorer Alexandra Popp says it “doesn’t get better” than facing England at Wembley in Sunday’s Euro 2022 final.
Popp scored both goals as Germany reached their ninth European Championship final in 11 outings, beating France 2-1 in Milton Keynes.
It sets up a mouthwatering clash with the Lionesses and will be a replay of the 2009 Euros final, which Germany went on to win 6-2.
Popp said after the game: “I can’t put it into words. We played an amazing game and threw everything in. We are incredibly happy; nobody expected us. We’re in the final at Wembley against England – it doesn’t get any better than that.
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“We earned our self-confidence in all the games. The team is just great; they have my back and are happy with me after my whole story of suffering. Now it’s time to regenerate quickly.”
The striker is now level with England striker Beth Mead for the Euro 2022 Golden Boot, with both players having scored six goals so far. Popp, however, has netted in every game so far, while Mead did not find the net against Spain in the quarter-final.
But the Germany captain says she is not focused on the individual accolade, adding: “It’s not my priority; my priority is to win the Euro. If I have the chance to crown the title with that achievement, it would be nice – but if it doesn’t happen, then I’ll still be happy.”
Voss-Tecklenburg: Pure pride in totally deserved win
Germany head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg believes her side deserved to be in Sunday’s final, but did described the semi-final as “exhausting”.
“I feel pure pride for this achievement and these players from numbers one to 23,” she said. “We have worked so hard and have become such a tight-knit bunch who support each other on the field. We totally deserved to win.
“France made a change for the second half after only having one shot on goal before the break. We knew that they could do more offensively and hurt us. It was a terrific team effort and that’s what we wanted. It worked out in the end but it was super-exciting and super-exhausting.”
Looking ahead to facing England for their record-extending ninth European title, Voss-Tecklenburg added: “It will be a great football feast, it’s a classic game and England has been incredible in this tournament, every single game full of dynamics, loads and loads of goals, but the first 30 minutes against Sweden showed you can hurt them.
“We will play in Wembley in front of 80,000 most of them probably for England, very few for us but we are accepting the challenge.
“I am very proud. I look forward a lot to this game, this will be an incredible final.”
Diacre questions shorter recovery time
Germany played their quarter-final two days earlier than France, who also had to contend with extra time, ahead of the clash in Milton Keynes, and France manager Corinne Diacre believes 48 hours more could have made a difference to the match.
“We saw that some of the French players were maybe not on par with their normal level of fitness, but we didn’t give up, we didn’t throw in the towel,” she said.
“Maybe if we had 48 hours more [rest)] it would have been different. I don’t know what the players would have looked like, but I don’t think we should take this win away from Germany.
“We came up against a very strong and beautifully athletic team. The disappointment is quite heavy in the air right now and we need to stick together.
“Obviously disappointment is the overriding feeling right now because we have lost this match, but we have got foundations to build on and we just need a bit of time.
“This was not our night, maybe it was just not our competition this year. We are building something strong together, a hard-working group and a group that doesn’t like to lose.”
The knock-out phase…
Wednesday July 20
Quarter-final 1: England 2-1 Spain (AET)
Thursday July 21
Quarter-final 2: Germany 2-0 Austria
Friday July 22
Quarter-final 3: Sweden 1-0 Belgium
Saturday July 23
Quarter-final 4: France 1-0 Netherlands (AET)
Tuesday July 26
Semi-final 1: England 4-0 Sweden
Wednesday July 27
Semi-final 2: Germany 2-1 France
Sunday July 31
England vs Germany – kick-off 5pm, Wembley
Sky Sports News and Sky Sports’ digital platforms will be following every step of England’s Euro 2022 journey ahead of Tuesday’s semi-final.
On the road, the Sky Sports News Mobile Presentation bus will continue to bring you all the best guests and analysis from the likes of Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett offering their expert insight. The bus will be based in the heart of Sheffield ahead of England’s last four fixture, before heading to Wembley for the final.
Across SkySports.com, the Sky Sports App and on social media, we’ll have all the big moments covered with our previews, features, reports, analysis, plus the the Sky Sports Women’s Euros podcast with Sky Sports’ senior football journalist Charlotte Marsh and Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui.
And if you’re new to the England squad, don’t worry – here’s our guide to meeting the Lionesses.
As well as England, Sky Sports News and Sky Sports digital will also be covering all the knockout games as we head towards the showpiece final on July 31.