England and Germany set to show 13 years of progress in Euros final

Finalists met in Euro 2009 showpiece before 15,000 fans – Sunday’s rematch will illustrate how far the game has comeOn Sunday, Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium will feel several dimensions away. It was there that, in 2009, England and Germany first met in a Women’s European Championship final. On paper it might have appeared a clash of the titans but England were not quite there yet: Germany began as overwhelming favourites and duly beat Hope Powell’s side 6-2, reasserting themselves as continental heavyweights. Birgit Prinz and company put on a masterclass but only 15,000 people were present in the storied venue to witness it.When this year’s England crop beat a weakened German side 3-1 at Molineux in February, it was only the second time this fixture had fallen the Lionesses’ way. That tells nothing of how the gap has closed. What reveals rather more is the fact that, however often the 2022 final is played in the head, it feels impossible to pick a clear winner. The outcome may well be on a knife edge and, with an audience up to six times higher than the crowd that rattled around in Finland, the atmosphere should ensure things feel that way immediately.

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