Women's Euros: And so to the final...
Keith Boanas, the former Estonia Women's manager, highlights the England win over Sweden in the semi-finals of the Women's Euros and looks ahead to what will be a clash of the titans at Wembley when England play Germany in the final.
Keith Boanas Women's Euro blogs
3. Women's Euro: Blog 3 Quarter Final Line up
4. Women's Euro: Blog 4 Semi Final Line up
So, it for sure was not a hard one to predict as a final and I know a fair few did, but I was confident from the first games that Germany would evolve and endure. Also, Mrs Boanas, AKA Copey (former England GK) bought tickets for the final way back in January having faith that this would be a great tournament for England and we had every chance of being there.
However I am not so sure too many would have predicted the manner in which England reached this final asides from another former International and player of mine Farah Williams who confidently called the 4-0. Honestly, me when asked said 3-0 but in the opening period I don’t think either of us despite having faith were over confident.
With England predictably starting with the same line up Sweden looked as if they had done their home work on any weaknesses we might have, especially the space that could be exploited behind Lucy Bronze when she forages forward.
Also trying to create set piece situations where the felt they had strength. England and Bronze in particular unusually guilty of too many loose passes. Had one or two early opportunities been taken and the crossbar not intervened this could have been a whole different ball game.
Relieve the pressure
We weathered that storm and started to relieve the pressure on us with better retention and use of our own strength in wide areas. Some great link up plays on the right ended in the delivery that Mead received, controlled and executed perfectly to give us in reality an undeserved 1-0 HT lead.
The second half immediately showed we had learned lessons from the first and the Bronze header despite being a bit soft crept through bodies and gave England breathing space. Wiegman being slightly more economical with the Game changers makes her first substitution with Russo for White.
Mainly because those that had struggled in the Spain game Daley and Kirby had for certain redeemed themselves with far better involvement and decision making. Russo is a different aspect to White mainly due to her ability to drive at defenders with pace and power. Ellen these days uses her experience and guile to move the CBs out of position waiting to exploit situations.
Then we have the Russo backheel, whatever anyone thinks about the defensive frailties look at the goal from start to finish. Russo in a great position for the setback hits the target but straight at the keeper, but it’s her immediate reaction to the second ball and her awareness of what was around her.
Worse scenario she would have won a corner or the ball would go back across goal, but the sheer audacity of the decision is what fooled both defender and GK and it should rightly be considered for a goal of the tournament candidate.
Lindahl will want to forget this game and was exposed again by Kirby’s clever chipped goal seeing Lindahl too far off her line and sealing what turned out to be an almost perfect second half. Let’s not forget the magnificent tip over from Earp’s at 2-0 that ensured we remained in the ascendency.
England v Germany final
Pardon me for writing more on this game than my other candidates for the final Germany overcoming France in a game where they I feel actually dominated defensively stifling most of the French attacks with comparative ease asides form the long-range effort that France scored. The vastly experienced and let’s say resurgent Popp turned out to be the Heroine with two goals born out of experience and game intelligence. A superbly timed run and finish for the opener and the clever little angled movements to avoid Renard for the determined headed winner.
You could see from her expressions and body language that she was going to be first to both of the deliveries. We are now set up for some amazing one to one battle aka Millie Bright V Popp and an interesting one in who will dominate midfield. Germanys Oberdorf is both a playmaker and a stopper and it may mean Stanway and Walsh have to try and support each other both in and out of possession to limit her impact.
We are set up for a classic, let’s hope it proves to be. I was at the 2009 final in Finland when Germany dismantled a decent England side methodically. We are a vastly different prospect under Wiegman and the tactical battle on the day will be fascinating to see. C, MON England.
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