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England ready for ‘fairytale’ women’s Euro 2022 final against Germany


London (AFP) – England women’s captain Leah Williamson called on the Lionesses to seize a “day of opportunity” by winning a major tournament for the first time in the Euro 2022 final on Sunday.

A record crowd for a European Championship match in either the men’s or women’s game of 87,000 is expected at Wembley to see England take on old foes Germany.

“It’s a fairytale fixture with the history behind it,” said Williamson at her pre-match press conference on Saturday.

“You would never expect to get to a final without playing the best team in a tournament and, in terms of the journey that both of us have been on, these are the two best teams in the tournament.”

In stark contrast to England’s lack of major titles in the women’s game, Germany have won eight of the previous 12 women’s European Championships.

Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side have shone throughout the tournament in England, conceding just one goal in winning their five games within 90 minutes on route to the final.

Germany also hold the historical upper hand in meetings in the women’s game, losing just two of the previous 27.

But one of those was when the sides last met in February as part of a run of 19 games unbeaten for the Lionesses since Sarina Wiegman took charge in September.

“Tomorrow is a day of opportunity, I think is the main thing,” added Williamson.

“That’s the only thing that makes it any different to it to any other game that the stakes are that much higher. But this is what we all live for and this is why I play football.”

Wiegman’s squad has a clean bill of health with the Dutch coach tasked with the decision on whether to change her starting line-up for the first time in the tournament.

Alessia Russo’s stunning backheel finish in a 4-0 semi-final rout of Sweden was just the latest in a series of impressive performances off the bench from the Manchester United striker, who could oust England’s all-time leading scorer Ellen White.

Germany will be without one of their key forwards as Bayern Munich forward Klara Buhl is still ruled out by a positive test for coronavirus.

Despite the prospect of facing a hostile atmosphere at the home of English football, Voss-Tecklenburg said she would not have wished to face anyone other than England in the final.

“We’ve dreamt of this, a final against England at Wembley.

“I don’t know if there is a bigger moment for our players. We want to stay present and embrace everything.”

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