Sky Sports journalists & reporters Euros verdict

Chloe Kelly and Alessia Russo among the favourites as Sky Sports’ journalists and reporters give their Euro 2022 verdicts

Chloe Kelly and Alessia Russo among the favourites as Sky Sports'  journalists and reporters give their Euro 2022 verdicts | Football News | Sky  Sports
Keira Walsh, Lena Oberdorf, Beth Mead and Alexandra Popp also praised; England won Euro 2022 on Sunday, beating Germany 2-1 in extra time at Wembley; The tournament has broken numerous records as the most successful Women’s Euros in its history

Best player? Best goal? Team of the tournament? Sky Sports’ journalists and reporters give their Euro 2022 verdicts after a stunning tournament.

Charlotte Marsh: Walsh key to England success
Best player – Keira Walsh

There were plenty of players, especially in the England squad, who could have been my pick, but without Keira Walsh, the Lionesses simply would not sparkle in the same way. Her ability to dictate play, distribute passes and pull the midfield strings makes her one of the best in the world in her position.–reporters-Euros-verdict-08-01

This was epitomised with her stunning defence-splitting pass that found Ella Toone up front for England’s opener in the final against Germany. It showed vision and talent that is second to none. Her profile deserves to reach the stratosphere and beyond.

Best goal – Alessia Russo vs Sweden
You may find this a common theme among my colleagues, but it was one of the best goals I have ever seen – let alone had the pleasure of seeing live. It had all the hallmarks of a player with supreme confidence, with Alessia Russo herself saying ‘it seemed like the easiest way to the goal’.

If that’s not sheer belief in one’s own ability, then I do not know what is because it was far from an easy finish – instinctive and audacious. For me, it should be nominated for a Puskas Award with Russo rounding off a superb Euro 2022.

Best moment – Chloe Kelly’s goal in the final

Could there have been anything else? The magnitude of that moment is – still mostly in the immediate aftermath – being realised, but it will have a seismic effect. Expect to see it replayed over and over again in the coming years.

Breakout star – Lena Oberdorf

While it may not have been the end to the tournament she would have wanted, Lena Oberdorf can hold her head high after a superb Euro 2022. She has emerged as a talent in midfield and a leader of the Germany pressing game, winning the award for Young Player of the Tournament.

She ranked second for the entire tournament for possession won in the middle third and first for tackles – incredibly impressive considering she is still only 20 years old.

Yes, there were games of better overall quality from both sides and ones with more goals – England smashing eight goals past Norway springs to mind. But top-level sport is known for its high stakes, drama and entertainment and this game had all three.

The impact of this result in the UK will be felt for years to come and these Lionesses immortalised in history. For its sheer history-making achievement, it is my pick for the best game at Euro 2022.

Team of the tournament

Mary Earps (England), Giulia Gwinn (Germany), Millie Bright (England), Leah Williamson (England), Sakina Karchaoui (France), Keira Walsh (England), Lena Oberdorf (Germany), Lina Magull (Germany), Beth Mead (England), Alessia Russo (England), Alexandra Popp (Germany).

Best player – Keira Walsh

There are many contenders for this accolade. I’ve picked Walsh because there is no other player more indispensable to their respective team.

Her command of the pitch against Germany was staggering. She won the midfield battle single-handedly, against a side who made it to the final thanks to their dominance in the middle third of the pitch – among a few other things. With almost no space to operate in, during a European final in front of nearly 90,000 people, to pick the pass of the match for Ella Toone’s opener was inspired.

It’s difficult to recall such a complete individual performance all tournament. She screens, disrupts and intercepts, before unleashing defence-splitting passes from deep, all with zero fuss. Still only 25, she’s got all the attributes to become one of the most influential stars in the women’s game, both at domestic and international level.

Best goal – Alessia Russo vs Northern Ireland

Yes, the goal she scored against Sweden was a showstopper. But even she admitted in the aftermath of that triumph that she should have stuck away the original chance when the ball arrived at her feet from a pinpoint Fran Kirby pass. Take nothing away from the artistry of the improvised finish, but I preferred her swivel and strike in the 5-0 win over Northern Ireland – the second of her two-goal haul in that tie.

The first touch is exquisite, collecting Toone’s pass and beating Julie Nelson and Sarah Robson in one fell swoop. It takes a striker’s instinct to evade the offside trap, position yourself perfectly between both central defenders and then execute a precision finish.

So cool and calm, Russo is impactful beyond her youthful years. I expect her stock to rise significantly off the back of a wonderful tournament.

Best moment – Alexandra Popp vs Denmark

Journeying back to Germany’s opening group stage game against Denmark, where Alexandra Popp was a 61st-minute substitute, it’s hard not to be endeared by the forward’s emotional response to her first Euros goal. As she slammed the ball home from a meticulous Sydney Lohmann cross, she was so overcome with feeling she sank to her knees and pounded the ground.

Perhaps more in relief than anything else, but also as a marker of her fight to represent her beloved country at a tournament where they have long dominated – despite her absence. She went on to score five more times, but was then cruelly sidelined for the final with injury.

Her contribution to the tournament was significant, nonetheless, and deserves to be recognised among the moments that Euro 2022 will remember affectionately.

Breakout star – Lena Oberdorf

UEFA’s Young Player of the Tournament. Oberdorf, who only turned 20 in December, flourished in midfield for the competition’s second-placed team. She was the central cog for Germany and the reason that Lina Magull and Sara Dabritz either side of her were able to roam so freely.

She’s not unfamiliar to the German national setup, far from it – her Wembley appearance earned a 32nd cap – but she’s grown in stature and influence throughout this tournament. The Wolfsburg enforcer was a cornerstone of Germany’s successful route to the final.

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