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 the beauty, a lovely goal and the very best in direct attacking play with an exquisite final touch.

The second was beast, a scrappy, scrappy toe as the ball ricocheted and bounced around the six yard box and ended with a toe.

These are the two goals that beat Germany in extra time, ending a 56-year wait for an English 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

The beauty

England were under the cosh, in fact Germany looked the better side, smoother and more menacing. 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. Anyone of a patriotic persuasion became nervous.

That’s the context of what happened next, and we have to start with Keira Walsh, who has been England’s quarterback; the deep-lying midfielder throughout this tournament and a player Germany had paid particular attention to keeping quiet. Or at least they tried, by fair means or foul.

But on this occasion, Walsh gained possession in one spot. However, she was deep in the half and the women in green shirts were preparing for a short forward pass. They had sniffed out those passes since the start of the second half and were ready to do it again.

This time, however, Walsh looked further up the field. She had time for that and realized that sometimes you have to do the unexpected; you have to take a risk and not, whatever you do, stick to the game plan.

England had tried to pass through Germany’s midfield and the opposition won that game. It was the right time to launch the long-range weapon. This time, the element of surprise was key.

Ella Toone had run screaming over the din, one arm raised to signal that she would try to gallop into the room behind the German defenses.

It’s an easy 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 sublime, struck with perfect speed, weight, curl and distance to not only get over the German centre-back’s head but bounce once and, crucially, hold up on the turf for Toone to run onto. and take it in her stride. It was laser-guided perfection. We’re talking millimeter perfect.

Walsh had done his bit, but Toone still had a lot to do. Her first touch was strong, taking the ball under control and further away from the retreating but quickly closing defender.

Looking up, Toone had plenty of time to think about what to do. For some players, that is a problem not an advantage – not England’s substitute.

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

Under pressure from behind, Toone cut a piece 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 floated over the keeper’s head. The ball curled too, it could have gone wide as the stadium held its breath, but it dropped and dropped, the ball coming down just before the angle of the crossbar and post in the top corner of the net.

Toone chooses his seat - PA

Toone chooses his seat – PA

Toone has no problem with the forward Frohms - PA

Toone has no problem with the forward Frohms – PA

As the Frohms look back in desperation, Toone is about to celebrate - PA

As the Frohms look back in desperation, Toone is about to celebrate – PA

The beast

Germany’s equalizer could easily have knocked the stuffing out of England, but with the prospect of penalties, England came up with an ugly, scrappy goal that owed as much to fighting spirit as a clever set-piece routine.

Lauren Hemp swung into the corner, a swing from the right. It was a dangerous one, curling into the corridor of uncertainty just outside the six-meter. It may well have been intended for the head of Lucy Bronze, but although it came up short, Bronze outmuscled her marker and managed to get a leg on it in the air and send the ball bouncing and spinning towards the center of the goal.

Chloe Kelly is not known as a goal poacher, but the way she used her body to push another defender out of the way and let the ball run over her body was key. It opened up a chance to shoot from close range which sent the Germans into a panic.

Germany had the bodies back, in theory to clear, but when Kelly failed to make a proper connection with the first attempt, it actually helped the Manchester City player, as all Frohms could do was save with his feet.

The loose ball fell perfectly for Kelly, who extended a telescoping leg to send a firmer toe poke through the gap between keeper and defender (see video below).

There was a split second of confusion after Kelly had whipped off her top to reveal a Nike sports bra – a nod to the iconic winning goal scored by USA’s Brandi Chastain at the 1999 World Cup – which England’s players briefly thought the referee was wearing blown for. a foul amid the thunderous noise of the celebration.

She hadn’t, and Kelly sprinted away into the arms of the substitutes and disappeared under a sea of ​​bodies.

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