The first was beauty, a great goal and the best in direct attack play with an exquisite final touch.
The second was the beast, a scrappy, rudimentary toe poke as the ball bounced and ricocheted around the six-yard box and was finished off by a toe poke.
These are the two goals that defeated Germany in extra time, ending a 56-year wait for an England team to win a major trophy and bring football, at last, home.
England was under pressure. In fact, Germany seemed the better side, more cunning and more threatening. This was the most worrying period of the match. The Germans felt that their hosts were there for the taking and the fans in the crowd were beginning to worry. Everyone of the patriotic persuasion was getting nervous.
That is the context of what happened next and we have to start with Keira Walsh, who has been an England quarterback; the deep midfielder throughout this tournament and a player Germany had taken great care to keep quiet. Or at least they tried, by hook or by crook.
But this time, Walsh picked up possession of the ball somewhere. However, he was well into his half, and the green-shirted women braced themselves for a short forward pass. They had been shutting down those passes since the start of the second half and were ready to do it again.
This time, however, Walsh looked higher up the field. He had time to do it and realized that sometimes you have to do the unexpected; you have to take risks and whatever you do, don’t stick to the game plan.
England had been trying to get through Germany’s midfield and the opposition were winning that battle. It was the right time to launch the long-range weaponry. This time the element of surprise was key.
Ella Toone had run and shouted above the din, one arm raised to indicate that she was going to try to gallop into space behind the high line of German defense.
It’s a simple move to defend against if you’re trying to do it all the time, but as a sneak attack it was devastating.
Walsh’s pass was sublime, hitting with the perfect speed, weight, curvature and distance to not only go over the German centre-back’s head, but also bounce once and more importantly hold up the turf. for Toone to run towards him. and take it easy. It was laser-guided perfection. We are talking to the perfect millimeter.
Walsh had done his part, but Toone still had a lot to do. His first touch was strong, taking the ball under control and further away from the retreating but rapidly closing defender.
Looking up, Toone had plenty of time to think about what he was going to do. For some players, that is a problem, not a benefit, not the substitute for England.
Toone saw goalkeeper Merie Frohms get far enough off her line to try something ambitious.
Pressed from behind, Toone chipped in from the edge of the box like an artist signing his name on a masterpiece. The ball seemed to be going too high and too fast as it floated over the goalkeeper’s head. The ball was curling too, it could be going wide as the stadium held its breath, but it was sinking and falling, the ball coming down just short of the angle of the crossbar and post into the top corner of the net.
Germany’s equalizing goal could have easily eliminated England, but with the prospect of penalties looming, England came up with an ugly rudimentary goal that was as much due to their fighting spirit as a clever play routine. set pieces.
Lauren Hemp swung into the corner, a swing from the right. It was dangerous, curling into the corridor of uncertainty just outside the six-yard box. It may well have been intended for Lucy Bronze’s head, but despite coming up short, Bronze swung her marker hard and managed to get a thigh in the air and send the ball bouncing and spinning into the center of the goal.
Chloe Kelly isn’t renowned as a goal poacher, but the way she used her body to get another defender out of the way, letting the ball pass through her body, was key. That opened up a point-blank firing opportunity that scared the Germans.
Germany had the bodies behind, supposedly to clear, but when Kelly failed to make a proper connection with the first down, he actually helped the Manchester City player as all Frohms could do was save with his feet.
The fumble landed perfectly for Kelly, who stretched out a telescoping leg to send a firmer toe strike through the gap between goalkeeper and defender (seen in the video below).
There was a split second of confusion after Kelly removed her jersey to reveal a Nike sports bra, a nod to the iconic game-winning goal scored by American Brandi Chastain in the 1999 World Cup, as England players they briefly thought the referee had missed. a foul in the midst of the thunderous noise of the festivities.
He hadn’t and Kelly ran into the arms of the surrogates and disappeared under a sea of bodies.