Germany’s attacking performances at Euro 2022 are the perfect advertisement for football, says Stefan Nestler. The team’s spirit is sparking life into the game and their journey should already be considered a success.
https://www.dw.com-Germany at the Women’s Euro 2022 could just embody what soccer is supposed to be
Sometimes a picture says more than a thousand words. After beating France 2-1 in the Euro 2022 semifinals, the Germany players were gathering for a team photo. But someone was missing.
A few meters away, Alexandra Popp had just been awarded the player of the match award. So the team photo was hastily abandoned as they rushed to gate-crash their captain’s ceremony.
What followed was a joyous outburst of elation as Germany players danced and sang around their leader.
All for one, one for all
The team spirit on show during that celebration has been evident throughout the whole tournament, both on and off the pitch: All for one and one for all.
Not just the players, but the whole team — including coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and her staff — have presented themselves as a united front. That’s a recipe for success in any team sport.
No attacker is above tracking back in defense. And no defender settles for a breather, instead running their lungs out to join forays forward before doubling back into position.
And the midfielders are simply everywhere. While between the posts, Merle Frohms has been a safe bet even after conceding her first goal of the tournament against France in unfortunate circumstances — the ball bouncing off the post into her back and rolling over the line.
Popp’s guaranteed goals
Despite that setback in the semifinal, Germany’s heads never dropped. From then on, Frohms was immense as France increased the pressure. And with each successful save, her teammates were there to congratulate her.
That togetherness inspired the fans in the stands as well; and will continue to do so. Germany are challenging for this Euro 2022 admirably, with attractive, attacking football and dedicated commitment.
That applies in particular to captain Popp, who not only leads the team with her armband, but has also guaranteed goals in this tournament. The 31-year-old has scored in all five games, including twice against France.
Popp missed the Euros in both 2013 and 2017 due to injury, and so her hunger to lift the trophy into the London sky at Wembley on Sunday is strong. And that hunger runs through the whole team.
But even if Germany are to lose against England in the final, this Euros has already been a huge success.
The German FA should perhaps think about bumping up the bonuses for their players. Such a gesture in the direction of equal pay would also be a sign of team spirit within the entire German football family.
This opinion piece was translated from German by Janek Speight.