Sport: No Longer Missing Popp, Germany a Step From Returning to the Top

2: 0 success against Austria: German footballers are fighting into the European Championship semi-final

 2: 0 success against Austria: German footballers are fighting into the European Championship semi-final in a long-time narrow game, Germany has a lot of trouble against Austria-and also a bit of luck. Ultimately, the DFB selection is more efficient. © Photo: dpa/Sebastian Gollnow Perfect conclusion. Lina Magull makes 1-0 in this scene. After preliminary work by Klara Bühl from the left and a lot of eye by Alexandra Popp for the better positioned teammate, it then hits the bottom right.

The Germans will play for yet another Women’s European Championship thanks in large part to its star striker, who is snakebitten on this stage no more.

The biggest moments in sports are often crafted by its biggest stars, but sometimes the moment has to be just right to forge the star. Germany captain Alexandra Popp can relate to both.

If the Women’s European Championship had taken place when it was originally scheduled—summer of 2021—Popp would have missed it for a third straight time due to injury. In 2013, an ankle injury kept her out, and four years later, it was a meniscus problem. Last summer, another knee injury could have ended her career. Instead, after the tournament was postponed by a year, Popp, a two-time Champions League winner, has established herself as the clear star of this summer’s competition, both in terms of the narrative and the gameplay. She has scored in every match in England, and her two goals Wednesday gave Germany a 2–1 over France in their riveting semifinal, setting up a 2009 final rematch vs. the host Lionesses Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

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  Germany vs. France prediction, odds: Soccer expert reveals 2022 Women's Euro picks for Wednesday, July 27 Brandt Sutton locked in his picks and UEFA Women's Euro 2022 best bets for France vs. Germany on Wednesday, July 27MONACO - NOVEMBER 21: Timo Werner of RB Leipzig celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the UEFA Champions League group G match between AS Monaco and RB Leipzig at Stade Louis II on November 21, 2017 in Monaco, Monaco.

This was supposed to be a Euros that shined a light on the continent’s biggest names, Instead, the tournament began with an ominous start when reigning Ballon d’Or Féminin winner Alexia Putellas tore her ACL on the eve of the opener. Then, inaugural Ballon d’Or Féminin Ada Hegerberg, on her long-anticipated return to a major international tournament, went goalless as Norway crashed out.

Despite those shortcomings, the spotlight wasn’t snuffed out; rather, it shifted to someone who was more than ready to seize it in her first Euros—someone who has waited and suffered to earn it.

Popp scored twice vs. France to cement Germany’s place in the Women’s European Championship final. Paul Terry/Sportimage/Imago Images © Provided by Sports Illustrated Popp scored twice vs. France to cement Germany’s place in the Women’s European Championship final. Paul Terry/Sportimage/Imago Images

No player in the competition’s history has ever scored in five straight games (only Michel Platini has done the same in the men’s tournament). No player in the competition’s history has ever scored more than six goals in one tournament. Popp has done the former and could well do the latter, and after all of the injury and heartbreak, she has Germany on the brink of a return to European dominance.

Alexandra Popp: From injury pech bird to the EM heroine

 Alexandra Popp: From injury pech bird to the EM heroine Dream Final on Sunday in Wembley: The DFB women meet on the "holy lawn" in England. Especially the focus: Captain Alexandra Popp (31), who made the miracle possible with two goals in the semi -finals against France on Wednesday (July 27). © provided by Cover Media Alexandra Popp injury bad luck on the way to the tournament The striker would have followed the European Championship in the mother country of football for a hair together with 12 million other German fans in front of TV.

Germany is the all-time women’s European champion with eight titles, including six straight during a 22-year run that ended acrimoniously in 2017. That exit at the hands of eventual runner-up Denmark kicked off a disconcerting run in the history of German women’s soccer, one that seemed like a changing of the guard was in the cards.

Die Nationalelf followed that quarterfinal exit with a quarterfinal exit at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Then, Germany failed to qualify for the Summer Olympics for only the second time in its history. Facing a group of death this summer that featured Denmark and Spain, this was either going to be the tournament that cemented the decline or reset the course ahead of next summer’s World Cup. And at the center of it all has been Germany’s captain.

Popp’s remarkable scoring streak continued in the 40th minute Wednesday, when she made a dazzling run, slicing through the France defense with reckless abandon. Reaching the sharp cross was a simple matter of will, but finishing was a golden touch of class. At full speed, the Wolfsburg striker fought off her defender and angled her left foot perfectly, flicking a thunderous volley into the top of the net to give Germany the lead.

DFB captain Alexandra Popp with bizarre PK appearance before the European Championship final!

 DFB captain Alexandra Popp with bizarre PK appearance before the European Championship final! Watford - our captain sits on the neck and the schnauzer on the face! Alexandra Popp (31) ensured great laughter at a press conference of the German National National Center on Friday in Watford. © provided by Tag24 also in Qatar? Alexandra Popp (31) appeared as "Alexander Bopp" at a press conference. The 31-year-old from VfL Wolfsburg appeared two days before the European Championship final against England in Wembley with a glued mustache.

And when Germany was holding onto a 1-1 draw with 15 minutes remaining, Popp stepped up for the match-winner, leaping into the air after another perfectly timed-run for a header to seal France’s fate.

Popp’s efforts were on full display in the semifinal, but she has been backed by a stalwart defensive effort throughout the tournament. Germany conceded its first goal of the tournament in the 44th minute of the semifinal, an own goal from goalkeeper Merle Frohms that was actually the result of a rocketed effort from Kadidiatou Diani.

The combination of Popp’s form and Germany’s organization in defense will create plenty of obstacles for England’s hopes to “bring football home.” Meanwhile, despite England’s home-field advantage at Wembley, history will be on Germany’s side: It is 8-for-8 in European finals.

When asked earlier in the tournament about her plans for July 31, Popp told Deutsche Welle: “How about raising the trophy in the air? That sounds like a good plan.”

Now she is one game away from such a moment.

At the end of Wednesday’s semifinal, she sprawled on the field, hands on her head and rainbow armband on her sleeve. As usual with most captains, the team gathered around her, except she could offer no encouragement or advice. Instead, the team smothered her with hugs and gratitude.

The look on her face was disbelief, certainly not in her ability to perform the way she has, but possibly for the way in which it happened. The moment has presented itself at last, and Popp has taken it. Only Sunday will decide where the spotlight rests, but there is no doubt as to which star is shining brightest.

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Five German players - Uefa names the best EM -Elf .
After the European Championship in Women's Football, UEFA chose five German players in the best team of the tournament. © Nick Potts/PA Wire/dpa Alexandra Popp (2nd VR) cheers with their teammates. You and four other German players were awarded part of the best World Cup team. The German national team had pushed to the final at the European Championship in England, but then defeated 1: 2 after extra time against the hosts.

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