The European Football Championship in England delivers beautiful pictures of a peaceful family celebration in the stands and in the host cities around it. It almost has something of a theater production or a concert to which the masses make a pilgrimage, are entertained and then leave again more or less satisfied. There are no wild hordes of drunken fans for whom football is more than just a game.
The great emotions, the exuberance, sometimes thrilling that this sport can offer cannot be determined at the women’s European Championship. But maybe that’s exactly what makes it so appealing. Football is reduced to what it is: a fabulous minor matter, but not a matter of state importance.
Of course, he still has that reflex of wanting to compare women’s and men’s football. Also at this European Championship for women, which is now entering its decisive phase and in which the German selection will meet Austria in the quarter-finals on Thursday evening.
The women would be much more authentic, foul less and play dying swans less often. Men should take this as an example, it says on the one hand. On the other hand, people like to tease because the game has no speed and is too buggy. That’s the typical male view of women’s football, they say again.
Nevertheless, women’s football is arriving this summer, in host country England anyway. But also in Germany, at least the stately ratings allow this conclusion. And so far, the German team has also provided outstanding arguments for following this tournament on your home screen: the first appearance in the 4-0 win against Denmark was dynamic, almost rapid. The 2-0 victory against Spain was a small tactical masterpiece and against Finland (3-0) the German footballers showed how strong they are in terms of width.
Germany was not considered the top favorite before the tournament, as it had always been the case in the past. Eight European Championship winner trophies testify that the DFB women have often lived up to this role. This year the situation is fundamentally different. After recent major tournaments that were rather mixed or even missed entirely, it was not clear how good German women’s football would really be in 2022.
However, national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg was always convinced that her team was definitely a candidate for the European Championship title – one of several, because the days when German soccer players dominated Europe and around the world are over. That’s not bad, not even for Germany. Other countries have caught up. England, France and Spain, where 90,000 spectators recently made the pilgrimage to FC Barcelona’s games in the venerable Camp Nou, show the dimensions in which women’s football has advanced.
How durable the euphoria is remains to be seen. The same applies to German club football and the question of whether this wave will spill over into the depths of the Bundesliga. Because there is often sadness with low four-digit visitor numbers – if at all. The stars of the national team like Alexandra Popp, Lina Magull or Lea Schüller all play in Germany, they are under contract with big clubs like VfL Wolfsburg or Bayern Munich. Clubs have recognized the potential in their women’s teams, but are not yet confident enough to fulfill it.
A continued successful European Championship could help women’s football to become more emancipated, sharpen its profile and live out its very own fascination. As is currently the case in England. And without any comparisons.