You think you know about baseball? Fun Facts about the 30 teams in the MLB
You think you know about baseball? Fun Facts about the 30 teams in the MLB
All the goals, all the saves, all the wins and losses – everything have led to this. It has all come down to one final battle. England against Germany at Wembley on Sunday.
The golden boot is on the line, the ultimate bragging rights are on the line – the European Championship is on the line.
This is the battle between the team that has scored the most goals in the tournament – 20 – and the team that conceded their first goal – an unfortunate own goal – in the semi-finals.
Sarina Weigman will be hoping to recreate history while Martina Voss-Tacklenburg will be hoping to put Germany back on top in Europe.
How could the game be decided? We take a look.
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One of the most intriguing battles on Sunday will be the midfield duel between the two sides.
Both sides boast a very balanced midfield trio. England’s triumvirate of Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway and Fran Kirby have been decisive in most of their games, but Germany’s midfield of Lena Oberdorf, Sara Dabritz and Lina Magull have been nothing short of exceptional.
Lena Oberdorf’s stock has skyrocketed with her exceptional showings so far. The 20-year-old prodigy has allowed her teammates to venture forward without worries.
She covers the ground brilliantly, and has a very large zone of control in her 1v1 battles. Her physically-dominant nature and world-class game awareness allows her to disrupt the opposition’s play.
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© Provided by Give Me Sport Germany's Lena Oberdorf
The Wolfsburg star likes to jump into challenges, which can result in fouls at times, but she can stifle the opposition’s progression and break down attacking moves before they turn dangerous.
Oberdorf has been omnipresent in the midfield for Germany. She has been one of the best players at the tournament and is a candidate for most valuable player.
Her English counterpart, Keira Walsh, is the lynchpin for Wiegman’s side. The Manchester City star is the anchor in the midfield and provides a sense of calm during buildup.
Wiegman likes her side to build from the back and Walsh’s press resistance has been a key factor in that. © Provided by Give Me Sport England midfielder Keira Walsh
Opponents have tried to specifically mark her out of the game in the semi-final and quarter-final to stifle England’s buildup, with varying degrees of success.
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Walsh’s spatial awareness makes it very hard for teams to keep her out of the game – she is constantly manipulating opposition structure by opening up space for her teammates with her movements.
Her passing is crisp and accurate over any range, enabling her to break lines and play through the press. Her body shape, deft first touch and vision allows for her to turn creator from deep.
While they may not engage in direct duels, both players will be key in their team’s ability to execute their plan and allow other stars to play to their strengths. © Provided by Give Me Sport
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Alexandra Popp became the first player to score in five consecutive games at the European Championships after hitting the back of the net twice in the semi-final against France.
She became the joint top-scorer of the tournament in the process with six goals, four of which have been headers.
Popp, playing her first ever Euros, is the protagonist in Germany’s attack.
One of the weapons in her repertoire is her aerial ability. Standing at a respectable 1.74m, Popp might not be the tallest player on the pitch, but she towers over everyone in the box with her world class jump timing, aerial reach and movements inside the box.
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This was on display for her second goal in the semi-final against France.
On Sunday, however, she will be up against Millie Bright, who is known for her box defence skills. Bright has recorded 11 headed clearances in the tournament so far, winning 13 out of 15 aerial duels and establishing herself as a dominant figure in the aerial battles inside the box.
This is a fascinating individual duel that will be central in deciding the outcome of the game. © Provided by Give Me Sport England defender Millie Bright
Germany have arguably been the most intense pressing side in the tournament so far. They have recorded the most pressed sequences in the tournament, and the second lowest passes per defensive action numbers – a metric that highlights the intensity of a team’s press – at 8.4.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side is intense and they hunt in packs high up the pitch. They create overloads in the wide areas, with exemplary workrate from the wide players, and are capable of outrunning their opponents.
Germany have the depth to sustain these levels of high press throughout the game as well. They have managed to score twice directly as a result of their press in the opposition box.
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© Provided by Give Me Sport Germany at Euro 2022
England’s approach has been slightly different. They have been very methodical and selective about where and how they press. Their pressing on restarts, like throw-ins, has been excellent.
This is how England manage a lot of their turnovers and catches the opposition off-shape, allowing them to quickly translate these turnovers into shooting opportunities. They have the threat on transition to cause opponents problems.
How each team deals with the opponent’s press will play a key role in determining the success higher up the field. © Provided by Give Me Sport England at Euro 2022
Wide areas have been central to either team’s chance creation at the tournament.
Germany’s wide combinations has seen them overload and manipulate opposition defences.
The right sided combination between Svenja Huth, Giulia Gwinn and Lina Magull has been a constant source of threat.
Gwinn’s comfort on the ball has allowed for positional rotations on the wide right that wouldn’t be possible otherwise, while Huth is an excellent crosser of the ball from either side of the pitch.
England’s chance creation is also heavily focused on wide areas. The aggressive nature of Lucy Bronze and her combination with Beth Mead on the right has frequently resulted in shooting opportunities. Mead is front runner to be named player of the tournament, with the Arsenal winger equally adept at scoring and creating chances.
She has provided three assists on top of her six goals, and will be looking to create some magic on Sunday.
Both teams are blessed with talented young wingers. Lauren Hemp, Klara Buhl, Jule Brand and Chloe Kelly are all differential players in their own right, and add a unique dimension to their team’s attack. These players can create and score equally well and will be looking to exploit weakness in opposition backlines.
England will have to be alert to not get outnumbered and outmanoeuvred with Germany’s wide overloads, by having their wingers and ball-sided midfielders do their defensive duties diligently. Germany will be hoping for the same from their players.
There can only be one winner and when the dust settles on Sunday. There will just be one team on the European throne. Can Wiegman work her magic and bring it home, or will the German machine reclaim their title for a record ninth time?
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