The UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 came to its grand conclusion with hosts England lifting their first international trophy for men or women since 1966, beating rivals Germany 2-1 after extra-time, in front of a record-breaking Wembley crowd. The tournament witnessed attention like never before in a European competition for women’s football which was helped by the quality that was produced on the pitch. It was the players’ commitment that took center stage for their nations. They lit up the tournament in an unforgettable way for years to come. Euro 2022 will go down as one of the highlights of their footballing career.
The competition for each place is exceedingly high with three or more player worthy of making the team of the tournament. Naturally, it has not been easy to distinguish the best out of them but the players who made it prove to be the ones almost single handedly turning matches through their contribution. With only four groups assertive in the Women’s Euros, it was necessary to keep consistency in almost every game and help the nations to progress deeper in the contest. Undoubtedly, two teams in England and Germany could do that with precision, so most of the players from both nations make the final team of Women’s Euro 2022. The formation for the team is set in old fashion 4-4-2.
Goalkeeper: Mary Earps (England)
The number ones for each nation have been kept busy throughout Euro 2022 for the kind of attacking talent was on display. Every participating team scored in the tournament with the goalkeeper forced to match-saving saves as well as for some nations be a serial passers from the back to evade pressure. The one goalkeeper that excelled in both is England’s Mary Earps. In the entirety of the Euros, the Manchester United number one only conceded two goals that also being in the knockout stages and beating her xG conceded rate of 6.27 preventing five goals. Earps also kept a save percentage of 88.9%, the best in the tournament, making 16 saves in total while keeping four clean sheets. She was also effective in passing out from the back to keep England on the front foot and became a vital member of their trophy lift after 56 years.
Defenders: Lucy Bronze (England), Marina Hegering (Germany), Leah Williamson (England), Rachel Daly (England)
There was a cluster of right-backs in Euro 2022 that could have taken the accolade of writing their name in the team of the tournament but it was Lucy Bronze who delivered in the time of asking. The semi-final against Sweden was the peak of her display in the tournament with an assist and a goal in a 4-0 win which propelled England to the final. She created 10 chances along with making 15 clearances better than any other full-backs in the competition. Bronze’s partnership with Beth Mead on the right made a deadly combination for the Lionesses to give a productive edge in the attack from that end on the pitch. On the other flank, Rachel Daly may have not produced numbers in the attack but was contained defensively amidst facing some tricky situations against direct wingers. The player who plies traded in NWSL in the USA made joint best 14 interceptions and ranked second among full-backs in tackle success rate. Daly also combined with Lauren Hemp on the left in a fine fashion to evade the opposition’s press and unleash counters.
Euro 2022 was a tester for all the centre-halves as they were a handful in defending against vicious attacks from almost every nation. Still, two of them stood tall against all threats and demonstrated their passing ability from the back. Germany’s Marina Hegering carried these two important traits in guarding the back four for her nation. Although she misplaced some passes and drove out of position, it only showed the aggressiveness she carried in her role that made the Bayern Munich player a dominating figure in the defence. Like Rachel Daly, Hegering made 14 interceptions in six games with one of them directly resulting in a goal. She also had a pass success rate of 83.9% level, along with England’s Millie Bright, sixth best in the tournament. Also, her 32 clearances are the highest done by any player in Euro 2022.
Leah Williamson became a true leader for the Lionesses in taking the responsibility of fancying her position as central defender after tipped to play in the midfield, giving the manager Sarina Weigman full trust to play her over and over again in the role. The Arsenal women long-passing range was a treat to watch her agility to beat the press nullified opposition’s strategy to suffocate the Lionesses in their half. Williamson’s pass success rate of 87.1% is the best among her teammates with a fourtfourth-bestrate passing average in the tournament. Additionally, she completed all her dribbles and made 19 clearances in total.
Midfielders: Aitana Bonmati (Spain), Keira Walsh (England), Lena Oberdorf (Germany) , Lia Maghull (Germany)
The tournament was blessed with skilful and dogged midfielders so much that an entire eleven could be made out of them. Spain may not have crossed the threshold of the quarterfinals but they sustained a talented player in Aitana Bonmati who, jointly with Beth Mead and Georgia Stanway, won the player of the match award twice in Euro 2022. The Barcelona midfielder was all over the pitch for Spain assisting attack, easing pressure and even getting back to intercept or stop an opposition counter. No midfielder had a better pass success rate than Bonmati (88.8%) in the tournament, also her successful long balls to build attacks for Spain with an accomplishing rate of 87.5%.
Lionesses’ midfield duo of Georgia Stanway and Keira Walsh was immense to their historical trophy triumph. While Stanway did all the attacking business, Keira Walsh was tasked to hold up the play and provide defense-splitting passes as she did with the long ball assist for Ella Toone’s opener in the final at Wembley. Walsh was rightfully awarded the player of the match as she managed exceedingly well the press from the Germans keeping the switch on for England in the middle of the park. The Manchester City player has done it with incredible prominence in Euro 2022 maintaining an 88% passing rate with a 73.3% accuracy in long-passing, more than her teammates.
A midfield destroyer at just the tender age of 20 is frightening, so Lena Oberdorf’s maturity in her game sense to break down attacks for Germany became a huge topic of conversation. She won the young player of the tournament deservingly with the award meaning less to her at the moment in tears of losing the final but Oberdorf could sure win major honors if her exponential growth persists which will surely do. Lena wasn’t a serial passer like Bonmati or Walsh, but she stood out with the work termed ‘dirty’ in football, which also has a dribbling success rate of 88%.
With Oberdorf inclined to stop attacks from opposition, Lina Magull was tasked to begin and finish the ones for Germany collecting three strikes in the process, the most important one being the equalizer in normal time in the final. The fact that she scored the opening and the last goal for Die Nationalelf despite struggling a bit through injury showed her significance to the team. Magull’s attacking threat kept the defense on its toes through her incisive movements and rapid shots-taking capabilities. That is known by her average of 2.1 shots on target. The Bayern Munich forward was unlucky to not have won the Euro trophy otherwise it would have been the right honor to cap off her brilliance.
Forwards: Beth Mead (England), Alexandra Popp (Germany)
The player of the tournament and the top scorer of the tournament awarded described Beth Mead’s gigantic impact at Euro 2022. Whether be her quick touch and lob over the keeper for the tournament’s opening goal or her left-footed finishes after flooring defenders, everything was in store to show her efficiency in front of the goal. Mead scored a total of six goals in the tournament, the most in history levelled with Inka Grings of Germany and in the same tournament with Alexandra Popp, contributing to 10 goals for the Lionesses with her four assists. The 27-year-old also created 16 chances, two more than Klara Buhl of Germany and three more than France’s Clara Mateo. Mead has this functionality of beating defenders one-o-one staying wide or tucking in to behave almost as a striker for an out-and-out goal source for England. Mainly in the group stages and the semi-final against Sweden, the Lionesses basked in the goals of a ruthless scoring machine on their side. This was the tournament Arsenal forward will remember for the trophy triumph rewarded for her class individual act.
Mead’s close competitor, Alexandra Popp was unfortunate to sit out the final after picking up an injury just minutes before kick-off. The Wolfsburg striker would surely have given the English defender a lot more work to keep her quiet. After all, Popp popped up with goals in every single game of the tournament, the first player in tournament history to do so, bar the final something which Mead has failed to do. Her first goal against Denmark in the opening group stage match was an emotional one as this was the first time she scored in a Euro tournament after missing out on the previous two editions with injury troubles. From there, Popp averaged 1.50 goals per 90 scoring better numbers than her expected goals (xG) of 2.69. The German number nine also became a pressing monster for the side with the team able to get goals directly from it.
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