England will play Italy in the Euro 2020 Final at Wembley this evening. For the men’s team, it is a first major tournament final appearance since the 1966 World Cup. But the women’s side have more recent experience of reaching a major tournament final, doing so at Euro 2009.
The Lionesses came up against Germany in the final of Euro 2009, despite enduring a rocky start to the tournament. GiveMeSport Women looks at their path to the final, how they fared, and England’s star names during the competition.
How did England get to the Euro 2009 Final?
Finland played host to Euro 2009, holding the competition in late summer with matches in Helsinki, Turku, Tampere and Lahti. England were drawn in Group C with Italy, Sweden and Russia.
The Lionesses would have been feeling confident going into the tournament, having reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup two years beforehand. But they did not get off to a good start at Euro 2009, losing 2-1 to Italy in their opening game of the group stage.
England had to defeat Russia in their next match or face an early exit from the tournament. In a dramatic first half, Russia went 2-0 up, but the Lionesses scored three goals in quick succession to get back in front. England managed to defend this lead in the second half to secure their first victory of Euro 2009.
Next up was Sweden, who had already qualified for the knockout stage with wins over Russia and Italy. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, ensuring England also went through to the quarter-finals as one of the best third-place teams.
In a five-goal thriller, the Lionesses defeated hosts Finland 3-2 in the quarter-finals. Netherlands awaited in the semi-finals. The match finished 1-1 in normal time, with Jill Scott scoring the winner just five minutes before the clash went to penalties. England had reached the Final in the most dramatic of circumstances.
How did England fare in the Euro 2009 Final?
Despite only finishing third in their group, the Lionesses had progressed all the way to the Euro 2009 Final. Defending champions Germany stood between the team and the title.
The Final took place at Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium in front of 15,877 excited fans. Birgit Prinz scored the opening goal in the 20th minute, before Melanie Behringer gave Germany a 2-0 lead just two minutes later.
It was a bad start for England, but they were soon back in the match through a Karen Carney goal. The players went into half-time with the fixture finely poised at 2-1.
Germany were the team who came out stronger in the second-half. Kim Kulig hit the back of the net in the 50th minute, but Kelly Smith again closed the gap with a goal in the 55th minute.
From here, Germany showed their expertise and dominance, gradually taking the Euro 2009 title beyond England’s reach. Inka Grings scored in the 62nd and 73rd minutes respectively, before Prinz confirmed a 6-2 victory in the 76th minute. The plucky England team had been well beaten.
Who played for England in the Euro 2009 Final?
The England team which reached the Final of Euro 2009 is packed with star names. This includes goalkeeper Rachel Finnis-Brown, defender Alex Scott and midfielder Karen Carney, all of whom now have successful careers as TV pundits and commentators.
Former Manchester United manager Casey Stoney was in defence for the Lionesses that day, with Angel City FC sporting director Eniola Aluko and the recently retired Fara Williams playing in front of her in midfield. Two members of the team are still active today – Manchester City’s Jill Scott and Aston Villa’s Anita Asante.
Kelly Smith, the all-time top scorer for the Lionesses with 46 goals in 117 appearances, was also on the pitch.News Now - Sport News