31 July 2022

Euro 2022 team of the tournament

31 July 2022

Stars of the future and unlikely heroes have emerged during Euro 2022, while others have cemented themselves as the best on the continent.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the team of the tournament, with finalists England and Germany providing seven of the 11 players.

Daphne van Domselaar (Netherlands)

Dutch keeper Van Domselaar stepped up her game after unexpectedly being called into action (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

Netherlands keeper Van Domselaar was not even supposed to start during her side’s title defence but an injury to captain Sari van Veenendaal in the opening match forced her 22-year-old understudy into the limelight.

She delivered, turning out a tournament-topping 23 saves before her side bowed out to France in the quarter-finals. With Van Veenendaal announcing her retirement this week, the torch has officially been passed.

Mapi Leon (Spain)

Mapi Leon, left, shields possession from Denmark’s Nadia Nadim (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

England knew they faced a different challenge when they lined up against Spain in their quarter-final clash following dominant group stage wins over their Group A opponents.

Jorge Vilda’s side’s tournament-leading possession and passing accuracy, combined with their masterful, tiki-taka style seemed to flummox the Lionesses, who were goalless through the first half. Leon made 39 ball recoveries, while the Barcelona star also took a tournament-leading 22 corners.

Millie Bright (England)

Millie Bright was instrumental in England’s victory (Nigel French/PA) (PA Wire)

The Lionesses did not just score the most goals in the tournament, they also conceded just two. Much of this had to do with the impressive performance put in by centre-back Bright, who anchored England’s back line and provided steady assurance when her team-mates relinquished possession in dangerous areas.

It was been enough to impress former Lioness Fara Williams, who said the Chelsea star was England’s best player of the competition.

Sakina Karchaoui (France)

Sakina Karchaoui, left, impressed for France (Tim Goode/PA) (PA Wire)

Karchaoui was instrumental in earning France a trip to the semi-finals, her 42 balls recovered ranking as the best outside of the finalists and just ahead of Leon. The speedy Paris St Germain defender also turned provider twice in their opening matches to help France finish top of group D.

Keira Walsh (England)

Walsh’s skill and patience in midfield were critical in the build-up to England’s tournament-leading 22 goals prior to the final – and that ability was never more evident than with her pinpoint pass to set up Ella Toone’s opener in the final, Walsh’s third assist of the tournament. She has been praised by team-mate Jill Scott for her intelligence on the pitch, commanding and breaking up play in equal measure and achieving an impressive 89.4 per cent passing accuracy.

Lena Oberdorf (Germany)

Having made history in 2019 as the youngest World Cup player for her country, Oberdorf was a stand-out performer in her second major tournament.

The 20-year-old’s ability to anticipate play, time her challenges, and tournament-leading 23 tackles saw the Wolfsburg star named Young Player of the Tournament.

Lina Magull (Germany)

Lina Magull, second right, gets in front of fellow team of the tournament member Millie Bright to score in the final at Wembley (Nigel French/PA) (PA Wire)

Oberdorf is not the only anchoring German force in midfield, with Magull also adding a composed and intimidating presence for Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side.

The versatile Bayern Munich star, who will boast England’s Georgia Stanway as a team-mate this season, scored her third goal of the tournament at Wembley to go with one assist.

Beth Mead (England)

Beth Mead was top scorer and player of the tournament (Nigel French/PA) (PA Wire)

The Golden Boot winner with six goals, helped by a brilliant hat-trick in England’s 8-0 group stage win over Norway. It was a decisive victory over a quality side that felt like an early turning point in this tournament, when England started to wonder if they really could bring the trophy home.

The Arsenal forward, who used her omission from Team GB’s Tokyo Olympics squad last summer to fuel her brilliant Euros, added five assists along the way.

Kosovare Asllani (Sweden)

Kosovare Asllani, right, starred for Sweden (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)

Asllani converted from the spot in her country’s 5-0 group stage win over Portugal, but it was her ability to set up others that proved most vital in sending her side through to their meeting with England in the semi-finals.

The unselfish forward tied England’s Walsh and Fran Kirby for the second-most assists, including brilliantly teeing up Jonna Andersson’s vital strike in their 1-1 group stage opener with the Netherlands.

Alexandra Popp (Germany)

Alexandra Popp’s tournament ended in heartbreak but she finished as joint top scorer (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)

Mead’s Golden Boot rival netted both goals in Germany’s 2-1 semi-final with France, setting a record in the process. The skipper scored at least once in all five of the eight-time European champions’ matches up to the final, with no other player in the competition’s history netting in as many contests in a single Euros.

But after injuries prevented Popp from participating in the last two editions, her ill luck returned just before kick-off at Wembley as she was forced out by a muscle problem in the warm-up.

Alessia Russo (England)

Russo’s backheel in England’s semi-final is a contender for goal of the tournament (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)

A few England attackers could claim a spot here, but this tournament has firmly established the 23-year-old as one of the country’s brightest lights of the future. The super-sub scored four times in the lead-up to the final, landing her behind just Mead and Popp on the tournament table despite never starting.

Russo’s beautiful back-heeled finish in the 68th minute of her side’s 4-0 semi-final victory over Sweden was a perfect emblem of the sort of swagger England have developed over the course of the tournament.

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