Football

Asante: England are reaching peak

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Defender Anita Asante believes England will be at their peak when they face Germany in Thursday's European Championship final.

England lost their opening game of the tournament when Italy defeated them 2-1 and they only managed to win one group-stage match when they eclipsed Russia 3-2 but hard-fought victories over both Finland and Holland in the knockout stages have put England into the final without them hitting top form.

"We didn't start the Euros particularly well," Asante admitted, "but I'm sure that goes for a lot of teams. We've progressed and improved with every game and I suppose that's important in a tournament of this length - you want to peak at the crucial moments and now we're at a crucial moment."

She added: "We seem to play better in front of big crowds and in big games so we hope that continues on Thursday. I just hope we've saved our best performance for the final.

"I'm really excited about the game," she continued. "It's my first final and for some of the girls it's the first time they've played in a tournament of this size, so to get this far is brilliant.

"We watched Germany's game against Norway and for them to come from behind and score three second-half goals in a semi-final just shows the talent and experience they have in their squad. We know it's going to be a tough game, but we've prepared well and we're ready for the challenge."

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