LONDON (AP) — England beat Germany 2-1 in the final of the European Championship after extra time on Sunday to win its first major women’s soccer title.
Chloe Kelly scored the winning goal on a rebound in the second half of extra time after Germany failed to clear a corner. The game had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes at Wembley Stadium with Lina Magull for Germany canceling out Ella Toone's goal for England.
After the final whistle, the England players danced and the crowd sang their anthem “Sweet Caroline.” The good-natured atmosphere inside the stadium Sunday drew contrasts with the violent scenes when the England men’s team lost its European Championship final to Italy at the same stadium a year ago.
The tournament-record crowd of more than 87,000 underlined the growth of women’s soccer in Europe since the last time England and Germany played for a continental title 13 years ago.
On that occasion, Germany surged to a 6-2 win over an England team which still relied on part-time players. Two years later, England launched its Women’s Super League, which has professionalized the game and grown into one of the main competitions worldwide.
That has meant increasing competition for Germany, which was a pioneering nation in European women’s soccer and increasingly faces well-funded rivals in England, Spain and France.
Ella Toone latched onto a long pass from Keira Walsh to get in behind the German defense in the 62nd minute and cleverly sent a lobbed shot over goalkeeper Merle Frohms and into the net for the opening goal.
Toone's goal, six minutes after she entered the game from the bench, sparked celebrations as England manager Sarina Wiegman — the winning coach with the Netherlands in 2017 — raised both arms in joy.
Facing its first defeat in nine European finals, Germany came close when Lea Schüller hit the post and then leveled the score in the 79th when Lina Magull knocked a low cross past England goalkeeper Mary Earps, taking the game to extra time.
When the game went to extra time there were echoes of another European Championship final at the same venue the year before, when the England men’s team had a 1-0 lead but lost on penalties to Italy.
Germany was without captain Alexandra Popp — the team’s leading scorer with six goals — after she reported a muscle problem in the warmup. She was replaced in the lineup by Schüller while Svenja Huth took over as captain.
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The Associated Press