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How England Beat Germany to Win Euro 2022

Rory Smith

Those last nine minutes, the final throes of a wait that stretches back 56 years, stretched on and on into the distance. England’s players mustered the last few drops of energy in their exhausted bodies and dispensed them all not in the service of making something happen, but ensuring that something did not.

England’s fans, meanwhile, the 87,000 or so inside Wembley, whistled and sang and made whatever noise they could, searching for any displacement activity at all to make the time pass just a little quicker, to make it just a little more bearable. They waited, and they waited, and then, finally, it was over. England, at last, was champion of Europe. England, at last, was champion of something,

It had not been especially pretty, in the end, the goal that finally ended Germany’s obdurate resistance scrambled in at the third time of asking by Chloe Kelly deep into extra time, the decisive act of a European Championship final that had veered between physical and fraught and, at times, brutal.

Not that anybody cared, of course, and not that they should. All that mattered was that moment, one that has eluded any English soccer team since 1966 and has never been afforded to an England women’s soccer team. England has its crown, and with it the knowledge that — as the song has it — football has finally come home.

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