LONDON, United KingdomJul 31 – England women’s captain Leah Williamson has called for the Lionesses to seize a “day of opportunity” by winning a major tournament for the first time in the Euro 2022 final on Sunday.
A record crowd for a men’s or women’s European Championship match of 87,000 is expected at Wembley to see England take on Germany.
“It’s a fairy tale match with the story behind it,” Williamson said in his pre-match press conference on Saturday.
“You would never expect to reach a final without facing the best team in a tournament and, in terms of the journeys we have both come through, they are the two best teams in the tournament.”
In contrast to England’s lack of major titles in women’s football, Germany have won eight of the previous 12 European Women’s Championships.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side shone throughout the tournament in England, conceding just one goal as they won all five of their games in 90 minutes en route to the final.
Germany also hold the historic advantage in women’s football fixtures, losing just two of the previous 27.
But one of them came when the teams last met in February as part of a 19-game unbeaten streak for the Lionesses since Sarina Wiegman took charge in September.
“Tomorrow is a day of opportunity, I think that’s the main thing,” added Williamson.
“It’s the one thing that makes it different from any other game that the stakes are much higher. But that’s what we all live for and that’s why I play football.
Wiegman’s side have an impeccable bill of health, with the Dutch coach tasked with deciding whether or not to change their starting line-up for the first time in the tournament.
Alessia Russo’s stunning backheel in a 4-0 semi-final loss to Sweden was just the latest in a string of impressive performances on the bench from the Manchester United striker that could oust the England’s all-time top scorer, Ellen White.
Germany will be without one of their key forwards as Bayern Munich striker Klara Buhl is still ruled out by testing positive for coronavirus.
Despite the prospect of facing a hostile atmosphere in the cradle of English football, Voss-Tecklenburg said she would not have liked to face anyone other than England in the final.
“We dreamed of it, a final against England at Wembley.
“I don’t know if there is a greater moment for our players. We want to stay present and embrace everything.