Like just everyone else who adores women’s football, Impetus’ Emmanuel Faith has been enthralled by Euro 2022. Here, he reflects on the best players in each position before selecting his team of the tournament (4/8/22).
Above: England star Beth Mead with the player of the tournament, European Championship, and golden boot trophies on Sunday. Photo: Euro 2022.
Enthralling is mild to describe the recently concluded Euros. With 87,192 fans in the stadium at Wembley for the final, over 17,000,000 watching on TV in the UK alone and all sorts of other records falling by the wayside, it was a tournament that cannot be forgotten.
Full of memories, I have ruminated about the exhilarating matches and selected my team of the tournament. Since most teams played with the 4-3-3 formation, I would be sticking with that.
This was quite a difficult choice to make. The Netherlands goal-keeper, Daphne Van Domselaar is a really worthy candidate for the heroic stops she made against France, especially the double-saves that ensured the match was forced into extra-time. Additionally, and you can’t write off Merle Froms for being Germany’s wall. However, my slot will however go to England’s Mary Earps.
From the crucial save she made against Spain; blocking off Del Castillo’s looping shots to the crucial saves she made against Sweden in the opening 10 minutes before her team gained balance, Mary Earps has come a long way.
My centre-back pairings would be Millie Bright and Wendie Renard. There were a lot of outstanding candidates in the tournament, like the German pairing; Kathrin Hendich and Marina Hegering, and the Spanish pair of Mapi León and Irene Paredes but having a coordinator like Renard and a ball-clearer like Millie Bright is a solid foundation to win this kind of tournament.
This is also another really competitive position as there were really outstanding performers like Eve Perisset and Sakina Karachoui for France, Giulia Gwin and Felicitas Rauch for Germany, I would however stick with Selma Bacha and Lucy Bronze. Bacha’s performance against Netherlands is one of the best you would see from any 21-year-old footballer right now, and Bronze brought a perfect balance of attack and defense on the flank for the Lionesses. She knew when to stay back, be disciplined and when to wander into the other half. Her only goal of the tournament was also crucial as it came at the time that England were struggling to extend their lead.
This tournament spotlighted a lot of midfield maestros. From Aitana Bonmatí who like a metronome dictated the pulse and rhythm of the Spanish team, to Grace Geyoro whose hat-trick brought Les Blues to life. Keira Walsh’s vision birthed wondrous goals and exciting pre-assists, we surely are blessed to witness these talents.
My three midfielders would be Lena Oberdorf, Fran Kirby, and Kosovare Asslani. Winning the young player of the tournament meant you delivered an outstanding performance and Oberdorf was Germany’s shield and pivot when things got really tough. Kirby, despite coming back from illness played an important role in the hosts’ opening goal and kept on reminding everyone about how important she is throughout the tournament. Her goal against Sweden was stunning. Asslani is also another hero with exciting brilliance and trickery off and on the ball. Her ability to coordinate the Swedish midfield is also an interesting trait to have.
A tournament that produced 95 goals and averaged 3.1 goals per game depicts the presence of brilliant attackers. From Alexia Russo’s brilliant back-heels to Diana Silva and Jessica Silva’s brilliant strikes, is it an European finals if there are no wonder goals from talented forwards?
My slots go to Kadidiatou Diani, Beth Mead, and Alexandra Popp. Diani’s versatility in the box is excellent – her ability to complete take-ons, dribble seamlessly and find a wonder-strike makes her an exciting talent any coach would love to start with.
Alexandra Popp needs to introduction, six goals in six games and you could say she carried Germany on her back. Despite missing the final due to last minute injury, the star cemented her name as far as strikers in modern football is concerned.
When Beth Mead didn’t make the PFA’s WSL team of the season, there were a lot of justifiable concerns, especially about how she deserved a slot ahead of Vivianne Miedema. Well, I am giving her the slot. Scoring six goals is brilliant, but creating five assists alongside the goals makes Mead the kind of player any coach wants in her starting line-up. Who else would have won the player of the tournament if not Beth Mead.
Line Up: 4-3-3: Mary Earps, Selma Bacha, Millie Bright, Wendie Renard, Lucy Bronze, Lena Oberdorf, Fran Kirby, Kosovare Asslani, Kadidiatou Diani, Beth Mead, Alexandra Popp.
Subs: Daphne Van Domselaar (GK) Irene Paredes, Mapi León, Kathrin Hendrich, Aitana Bonmatí, Kiera Walsh, Sara Däbritz, Fridolina Rolfö, Vivianne Miedema, Delphine Cascarino.
Do you agree with this line-up? Who would you add or remove? Please reply in the comment section. Feel free to select your team and share with us!