‘Der Klassik’: A phrase which needs no translation appears across the back pages of German newspapers today after their women’s team beat France to set up a Euros final against England at Wembley on Sunday.
‘A dream final’ was how Chancellor Olaf Scholz put it, his words turned into a headline by media which described the game as the ‘gold standard of football’ and ‘the best dramatic conclusion’ to what has been an outstanding tournament.
Of course, no final between these two would be complete without mentioning the last time they met on such an occasion: 1966 when England’s men beat West Germany 4-2, including a controversial Geoff Hurst strike, to win the World Cup.
‘After 56 years, Germany has the chance to take revenge for the legendary Wembley goal,’ said Bild newspaper today, with Frankfurter Allgemeine adding: ‘The stage is set. And the Germans want to end the English party.’
Should England win Sunday’s encounter, it would be the first major international trophy that either the men’s or women’s team has brought home since then.
Alessia Russo celebrates scoring an audacious back-heel during England’s 4-0 drubbing of Sweden to put them in the final of the Women’s Euros
Alexandra Popp, the German captain, falls to the floor after scoring both of Germany’s goals in their semi-final victory against France
Perhaps surprisingly, given the record Germany has against England – they beat the women’s team 6-2 in the last Euros final they played in 2009 – they seem nervous.
Reflecting on the sublime Alessia Russo back-heel that put England 3-0 up against Sweden in Monday’s semi-final, Suddeutsche Zeitung says the team ‘look unstoppable on their way to the title.’
Popp, the German captain, roars after netting the winning goal against France
The paper continued: ‘Russo combined lightness, a fighting attitude and a good portion of chutzpah in her artistic shot – and so it symbolizes the entire performance at this tournament…
‘In this spectacular way it was shown how full the English women’s store of self-confidence is.
‘And how difficult, if not impossible, it will be to stop them from winning their first title.’
England’s record under manager Sarina Wiegman – 19 games unbeaten, 104 goals scored – ‘inspires respect, if not outright terror’, the paper added.
Newspaper Taz noted that it is ‘amazing how naturally the English fans now assume that their team will be as successful as possible.’
Stonking victories early in the tournament – 8-0 against Norway, 5-0 against Northern Ireland – led supporters at a fan zone in London to vote overwhelmingly for a four-goal margin of victory against top-ranked Sweden on Monday night.
‘The most amazing thing,’ the paper adds, ‘is that they were right.’
Pointing to those victories, Frankfurter Allgemeine called England the ‘gold standard of football at this tournament’ saying – perhaps a little boastfully – that their record is ‘at least as impressive as Germany’s’.
Captain Bobby Moore lifts the Jules Rimet trophy at Wembley in 1966 as England beat West Germany 4-2 courtesy of a controversial Geoff Hurst goal to win the World Cup
But others were more bullish, with FR taking comfort from the 6-2 victory in 2009 and a more-recent 2-1 win in a 2019 friendly with England.
‘There’s no reason to be in awe of the undefeated “Lionesses”,’ the newspaper insisted.
Die Welt also took courage from history, saying England are ‘dreaming of their first international title.’
Germany, meanwhile, are aiming for ‘their ninth European Championship triumph’.
Wembley – capacity 90,000 – is sold-out for Sunday’s final, which will kick off at 5pm and is being shown on the BBC.
England will carry home advantage, with 87,000 of the ticket allocation being sold to home fans while there will be just 3,000 Germans present for the clash.
It is the Lionesses’ first final since defeat to Germany in 2009, having been knocked out at the semi-finals of the Euros on three other occasions: 1987, 1995, 2017.
Their record in the World Cup is slightly worse having only ever progressed as far as the quarters, but they did claim third place in 2015 after winning the play-off game – against Germany
England join in a chorus of Sweet Caroline with the crowd at Wembley after booking their place in their first Euros final since 2009
Germany embrace after their victory against France, putting them in contention for their ninth Euros trophy at Wembley on Sunday
Confidence is high ahead of the final after the drubbing of Sweden, who were the highest-placed team left in the competition before being knocked out.
Alessia Russo has dazzled in front of goal – particularly with the back-heel – while Beth Mead and Georgia Stanway are also in top goal-scoring form.
Manager Wiegman also has a winning pedigree, having guided her home nation of the Netherlands to victory in a home Euros in 2017 before reaching the World Cup final in 2019.
But Germany have history on their side: Eight-times Euros winners, they know exactly what it takes to get to and win a final.
Captain Alexandra Popp has also emerged as a talisman – scoring twice against France to put her team in contention for the trophy.
She is now tied with Mead for the tournament’s golden boot, on six goals each, with that contest providing an under-current to Sunday’s action.
Football Association chiefs say security is being beefed up at Wembley in an attempt to stop any repeat of the chaotic scenes that marred the men’s final this time last year against Italy.
A Wembley spokesperson said: ‘The safety and security of fans at Wembley Stadium is of paramount importance and we have robust security measures in place before, during and after all events at the stadium.
‘Wembley Stadium always exceeds the minimum requirement for security personnel and stewards for events. This is to ensure that anyone coming to Wembley Stadium can enjoy a safe and memorable experience.’