Ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2022 final between England and Germany, Sky Sports’ pundits and reporters give their views on the showpiece final and make their predictions…
Carney: The time is now for England to win
Sky Sports’ WSL pundit Karen Carney:
“We didn’t win it in 2009 for various reasons and we’ve been to three semi-finals now, but it’s all about timing. If we’d got to finals in 2015, 2017 or 2019, would it have made the impact that it has done this week?
“There have been stepping stones and moments for this moment to happen – the time is now for England to win it.
“All eyes are on us. We’ve got all the broadcast deals put in place, we’re going to smash record-breaking viewing figures, record-breaking attendances, sponsors and all eyes are on the team.
“If it had happened in 2015, the time difference would have been a factor. In 2017, I don’t think we had all eyes on us. In 2019, would the investment have been there to let us play at 5pm on a Sunday for everyone to see? It’s put us in a place to do it now and the team needs to be ready to do it.”
“The two teams who are in the final are the best two tactical teams, coached and drilled meticulously by two fantastic female coaches. Germany adapt and play against their opponents, but they still have their own unique style and Martina Voss-Tecklenburg is tactically very good.
“She was a serial winner as a player and to bring it to the coaching element, she’s very well-drilled and organised. She has fantastic young players, it’s a joy to watch [Lena] Oberdorf live. As a fellow former players, it’s a joy to watch [Alexandra] Popp’s journey and to see the emotions. You can’t help but be attached to that.
“But England have got their weapon in Sarina Wiegman. Someone that’s tactically outstanding – if teams try and block Keira Walsh, she’ll drop Georgia Stanway deeper and get Fran Kirby in the pockets of space. We’ve also got two fantastic wide players and fantastic wide players to come on from the bench.
“We’ve got substitutes that come on and take the game to another level. Defensively, we’ve conceded one goal and Mary Earps has been a revelation. Everyone knows their roles and responsibility and we’ve got the crowd as well.
“I haven’t seen an England team like this before – there’s something different about them. We’ve got a great chance and the subs can make more of an impact than the German subs.
“The two best teams are in the final and I think tactics will be the difference. All the players are fit and strong, technically gifted so for me, the tactics will be crucial on Sunday.”
Smith: It’s time for a bit of revenge for 2009
Sky Sports News’ Sue Smith:
“It’s absolutely time for a bit of revenge. It’s a 50/50 game. When you look at the strengths of both sides, both are very good defensively. Germany have only conceded once and they can win games in different ways. We saw them against Spain where they had no possession but they always looked like they would win the game. Then they’re quite comfortable to have the ball as well so they’re a team that can adapt to different things.
“But we can too, that’s one of our strengths. We’ve got a way of playing and Sarina will stick with the same team, but we can change it if we need to and bring players on.
“It’s so hard to predict, and you’re always nervous when we play Germany, whether it’s men’s or women’s. That’s probably because I didn’t beat them in my career, I never played a game where I beat Germany, but this group of players and this manager can do it.
“I’ve got a feeling we’re going to sneak it 2-1 in extra time and the crowd will give them that extra bit they need if they need it.”
Marsh: England win, but they must start well
Sky Sports’ senior football journalist Charlotte Marsh:
“This team could be immortalised like the 1966 team that won the World Cup. We’re talking about this level of potential impact. We’re not going to know the real impact of these Euros for a little while yet – maybe months or years – but the impact on English football and in the UK if they win is massive.
“England have a good mentality because of Sarina Wiegman. She has changed England’s complete identity going into this tournament. She has revolutionised the team and bought in this winner’s mentality. She’s transformed every team she’s managed into winners.
“The thing that concerns me is that the start to most of England’s Euro 2022 games have been quite slow. It’s something we pointed out in the pre-tournament friendlies and if you’re not at your best in the first half an hour against Germany, they could score three and they’ve pretty much won.
“I do think that England will win, but I am concerned that the start needs to be good. Not necessarily scoring – although that would be nice – but just starting well and not allowing Germany to dominate and start finding chances.
“It is set up in this kind of way where it’s either going to break you and Germany will win. Or it’s going to be this amazing elation of England winning.
“No matter what happens, it has already been a huge tournament for England. It’s one of the best performances I’ve seen from an England Women’s side and we should have a lot of faith in Sarina. As much as we can talk about players, she is the key to this success. I trust her to know what to do, to have a game plan and how to use the talent she’s got.
“I know we’ve seen her be quite repetitive with it, but it’s worked. There’s a lot to be positive about, and Germany won’t be easy – they can of course still win it – but we need to have the faith.”
Toloui: England are facing a different beast
Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui:
“The magnitude of what this team has achieved and then can achieve hasn’t quite hit home, even though I’m well aware they’re in a final. They could completely change the course of football in this country. We could be talking about this for decades to come.
“There are various places this can be won or lost and mentality is a big factor going into this. We talk about the storied rivalry between England and Germany, but England’s record quite frankly stinks. Two wins in 27 games is terrible.
“The last win came in February, which is great, but it was against a Germany team missing 14 players through illness and injury in a friendly tournament. Maybe four or five of that Germany XI that started at Wolves in the Arnold Clark Cup will start on Sunday. They didn’t have one of the players of the tournament in Alexandra Popp.
“People say these things don’t matter because it’s a different team and a different generation, but it just shows how good and dominant Germany are. You already know mentally they’re in the right position because the whole culture and DNA of that set-up is a winning mentality. They know what it takes to win.
“England have got a lot of fight in them. As soon as they sense a shift in momentum, they pounce and that’s the ruthlessness that we talk about Wiegman instilling in the team. This is just a different beast they’re trying to slay, but they’re so evenly matched.”
White: Final win will be sweeter if England beat Germany
Former England captain Faye White:
“If it had been France, I think I would be a lot more comfortable because I wouldn’t have had the history I would’ve had with Germany, the disappointment over my career and how dominant they’ve been. But then I remind myself that the current team don’t feel like that. When they’ve played Germany over the last few years, it’s been a lot closer.
“Our history is not their history and you see how Sarina approached Sweden. We didn’t have a great history against them, but it’s the whole thing of ‘it’s the Germans and they know how to win things’. There is that belief and I think it’s meant to be, but there is a little bit of doubt because it’s the Germans.
“But it will be so much sweeter as well, it would make all my dreams come true again if they did beat them. I think England have enough in them to be able to. They seem to be loving every challenge that comes their way.
“You feel so much more invested in it, knowing what the players have had to do to get themselves to that point and were in the same shoes as me. The likes of Jill [Scott], Ellen [White], Lucy [Bronze] to an extent, the younger ones have maybe had it a bit easier in terms of a path through centres of excellence and youth groups with England up to the seniors.
“It will make it so sweet if they do win it – it’ll be indescribable. It will take me back to 2009 and all those feelings, but hopefully with a better result. The belief they have with Sarina too, that she’s been there and done it and has got everything singing from the same hymn sheet.
“They truly believe if they do what she says and approach it in the way she’s approached all the other games, they can do something special. They truly believe they are equals and can get the result.”
Sky Sports News and Sky Sports’ digital platforms will be following every step of England’s Euro 2022 journey ahead of Sunday’s final.
The Sky Sports News Mobile Presentation bus will bring you all the best guests and analysis outside Wembley, with the likes of Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett offering their expert insight.
Across SkySports.com, the Sky Sports App and on social media, we’ll have all the big moments covered with our previews, features, reports, analysis, plus the the Sky Sports Women’s Euros podcast with Sky Sports’ senior football journalist Charlotte Marsh and Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui.
And if you’re new to the England squad, don’t worry – here’s our guide to meeting the Lionesses.