Apart from all new records in terms of spectators or ratings, this European football championship for women was thrilling like never before. The final in Wembley in front of a full house was the worthy setting for a high-class sporting tournament and should also silence the last critical voices after this performance at the latest. In the hosts’ 2-1 victory over Germany, the two best teams in the European Championship showed all their skills, both tactically and technically.
The level has risen significantly in the last five years since the EM 2017 in the Netherlands. Many nations have been convincing on the defensive for a long time, but in the game with the ball there were sometimes problems. The fact that this has changed is also underlined by the highest goal average of 3.07 goals per game since the 2005 European Championship.
Several teams have also developed in tactical matters at this event. In addition to Germany, England and France, who showed almost perfect pressing behavior, smaller nations such as Austria were also successful with this concept.
It was not the tournament of the big stars, which was particularly underlined by the two finalists England and Germany, who were able to record such success thanks to their teamwork. France also made it to the semi-finals despite the injury to top scorer Marie-Antoinette Katoto. In Spain, of course, the loss of world footballer Alexia Putellas and captain Jennifer Hermoso hurt. Nevertheless, “La Selección” was also convincing at the European Championships. Recently, even Germany seemed to depend on players like Dzsenifer Marozsán, which has now changed at the latest. This dependency is still there, for example in Denmark with captain Pernille Harder or Norway with Ada Hegerberg, but is more of an exception.
Heading was particularly good, which played a much bigger role in the European Championship and not just because of Alexandra Popp’s impressive goal in the semifinals against France. 27 of 95 goals alone were scored with a header. None of the last big tournaments even came close to this value.
The EM had surprises in store, both positive and negative. A bit of a disappointment was Norway, who missed out on the knockout stages in their last game against Austria. The Norwegians were not necessarily the favorites for the title, but reaching the quarter-finals was the advertised goal.
The miss alone would not have been quite so dramatic were it not for the 8-0 defeat by England, in which the Norwegians all but refused to defend. The arrival of Austria, on the other hand, was a positive surprise that was not necessarily to be expected.
The best player of the tournament was England’s Bethany Mead, who provided four assists and scored six goals. Lena Oberdorf was voted the best young player and was also generally one of the best players at the European Championship. All in all, the European Championship was better than ever in terms of football and inspired thousands of people from a wide variety of nations. This development should be a stage, there is still room for improvement.