The Wembley pitch is now glitter-free but the Lionesses still shone in Trafalgar Square in front of the thousands who gathered to celebrate with the Euro 2022 champions on Monday.
It took a whole team effort to lift the trophy. Sarina Wiegman never changed her starting XI, but it was often players on her deep bench who provided England’s most dramatic moments no more than Chloe Kelly’s championship decision, while subtle anchors carried the squad through to the Lionesses’ first major title.
Here, the PA news agency picks the top five stars of the tournament.
It was impossible for Mead to carry all of the trophies she had collected on Sunday night alone. By the time she boarded the bus back to the Lionesses’ headquarters, Mead had secured the Golden Boot and was able to call herself both European Champion and Player of the Tournament after finishing the competition with six goals and five assists – also the number one provider of the Competition England’s perfect run to the title. It was the ultimate end of an amends arc for the resilient Arsenal forward who was dropped entirely from Team GB’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic squad.
The consistent, collected Lionesses midfielder was named Player of the Match after the final, an honor that prompted captain Leah Williamson to tweet: “Finally. Respect her name.” Walsh’s ball control and ability to find teammates from anywhere on the field, including the pinpoint through ball that led to Ella Toone’s opening goal in the title fight, were unmatched during this European Championship. Walsh also tied teammate Fran Kirby and Sweden’s Kosovare Asllani for the tournament’s second-most assists and covered the fourth-most distance of any player.
Bright’s impressive presence in defense was reassuring for both teammates and fans, who knew Bright’s head would come up to meet him if a dangerous ball was in the air, or a perfectly placed foot to counter the attack of the Clarifying opponents came closer and closer to the goal of the Lionesses. Always putting his body on the line, the Chelsea star anchored a defense that was vital in England, conceding just two goals throughout the tournament.
The captain’s stats speak for themselves: Williamson won more balls, 56, than any other player this Euro. Still, the math can only tell so much about the story, and Williamson’s contribution began well before the Lionesses’ opener at Old Trafford. The Arsenal star’s consistency, eloquence and maturity have shined since she was named England’s permanent captain in April. She could be seen encouraging calm at the nervous start of Sunday’s parade before finally showing her raw emotions after the final whistle, also taking time during the celebrations to comfort devastated Germany midfielder Lena Oberdorf.
There was a point, just last summer, when the Manchester United goalkeeper didn’t even consider going to those Euros, let alone starting every game for the Lionesses. Ellie Roebuck, Carly Telford and Sandy MacIver had traveled to the Olympics while Villa’s Hannah Hampton’s name was floating around in football circles. However, Wiegman had unshakable faith in Earps, who rewarded her head coach with four goals against and made 13 stops during the competition – six of them in the finals. Their suffocating stop after a nerve-wracking goalmouth scramble on Sunday was a turning point.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/sarina-wiegman-leah-williamson-england-lionesses-trafalgar-square-b2135826.html England’s top 5 stars of Euro 2022