For 26 years England football fans have been singing ‘it’s coming home, football’s coming home’ at every international tournament, hopefully of replicating their World Cup triumph of 1966.

But it took the fast, entertaining play of the country’s women’s team to finally bring home the coveted silverware, beating Germany 2-1 in yesterday’s final.

It was a titanic battle that saw the host nation capture the Women’s European Championship final late in extra time, England’s first ever major women’s international football trophy.

The match-up between the two nations was witnessed by 87,192 at Wembley, a record attendance for any women’s EURO finale.

England manager Sarina Wiegman praised her charges and their performance throughout the tournament.

“I think it will take a couple of days to realise what we have done,” she said.

“What we saw when we came in the stadium and the 90,000 people [and] over the whole tournament, we had so much support from our fans, and I think that’s really incredible and I also think that we did [an] incredible job.

You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.

“I am so proud of the team, staff, and support from the FA (Football Association).”

Tributes to the team poured in from around England.

National men’s team captain Harry Kane posted on Twitter: “Last night was an amazing night for the Lionesses and for English football as a whole. But beyond just the night it will inspire a generation and there’ll be so many girls who want to be one of those Lionesses and that’s special. Incredible achievement.”

Even Queen Elizabeth got in on the national jubilation sending her congratulations and proclaiming the team icons for women and girls.

“It is a significant achievement for the entire team, including your support staff,” she said. “The Championships and your performance in them have rightly won praise, however, your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so deservedly earned.

“You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations. It is my hope that you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today.”

Before the game began Germany suffered a blow as their captain Alexandra Popp, one of the top scorers in the tournament, picked up an injury during the warm-up and was ruled out.


In the opening minutes of the game, both teams tried to get the upper hand, with both England’s Ellen White and Germany’s Sara Däbritz missing chances.

England and German were both physical, trying to wear each other out and not give time on the ball for their creative players, and each committing five fouls in the first 30 minutes. England’s Georgia Stanway, White and German’s Felicitas Rauch were all booked.

Set pieces caused many problems for both defences with Lucy Bronze headers troubling the Germans, while the visitors almost went ahead in the 24th minute after a corner bubbled in the English box.

When the second half started Germany did everything right to go ahead but Lina Magull’s shot missed the target in the 49th minute.

Changes were called in by both managers with England bringing on Alessia Russo, Chloe Kelly and Ella Toone while German took off Jule Brand for Tabea Waßmuth.

The substitution worked a treat as super-sub Ella Toone picked up Keira Walsh’s long ball behind the German defence that was caught off guard, and she chipped the goalkeeper in the 61st minute to put England 1-0 ahead in the final for the first time.

English fans breathed a sigh of relief when Magull’s long run almost led to a goal but her shot hit the post in the 65th minute, while Lea Schüller’s follow-up was gathered by Mary Earps.

The lionesses suffered a blow as their top goal scorer Beth Mead got an injury and was subbed off in the 63rd minute with Chloe Kelly replacing her, while the Germans subbed on Nicole Anyomi and Sydney Lohmann.

German pushed hard after going behind but one of their brilliant build-up plays stretched the England defence out of position and Tabea Waßmuth used the opportunity to pass the ball to Magull who equalised in the 78th minute.

Near the end of the second half England strengthening their defence and midfield with the inclusion of Jill Scott and Alex Greenwood, while Germany brought on midfielder Linda Dallman.

The game was so close in so many respects with Germany completing 340 passes while England had 302, as well as having 11 shots on goal to German’s 16.

When extra time started the game become scrappier with tiredness playing its role, but England’s resolve was set to winning the coveted trophy against their bitter rivals and Lauren Hemp’s corner found Kelly, who poked the ball in the back of the net in the 109th minute.

When the referee blew the final whistle, the Lionesses were overjoyed with emotions while the Germans bowed their heads in disbelief. It also meant Wiegman has won two consecutive Euros with two different nations (the last with her home nation the Netherlands).

“If you score two goals against Germany, you’re deserved European champion.”

After the match German head coach Martina Voss Tecklenburg questioned the referee and VAR official’s decision not to award Germany a penalty.

“The first half ball possession was more on the English side [which] put a bit more pressure on us,” she said. “We sometimes lacked courage, but we managed to have some attacks and those were good.

“There was a situation at nil-nil where there was a clear handball in the box and VAR looked at it but didn’t award a penalty.

“In such a game that’s quite difficult to cope with.

“England [are] deserved champions [and] we have to congratulate them… if you score two goals against Germany, you’re deserved European champion.”

German’s tough tackling midfielder Lena Oberdorf won the young player of the tournament while Mead won the top scorer (with six goals) and best player awards.

Video and photo courtesy of Optus Sports.