Thousands turn out to welcome Germany’s returning Euro 2022 squad

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s narrow loss to England in the European Women’s Championship final could still prove more beneficial to women’s football in the country than another title would have. summer.

The team received a hero’s welcome in Frankfurt on Monday when thousands of flag-waving supporters lined up outside City Hall to show their appreciation for coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and her players.

“It’s crazy that a performance is recognized over several weeks and not just by a victory,” Voss-Tecklenburg said.

Chloe Kelly’s extra-time goal robbed Germany of a ninth European title and gave England their first – sparking euphoric celebrations there – but the German side’s run to the final caused great excitement among the fans, especially because the men failed in major tournaments. since winning the 2014 World Cup.

On average, nearly 18 million viewers watched Sunday’s final on German broadcaster ARD, breaking an 11-year-old record for women’s football at the 2011 World Cup. Euro 2022 viewership figures increased as Germany progressed to the final. Just over 12 million saw victory in the semi-final against France.

Alexandra Popp, who scored six goals to lead her side to the final at Wembley, missed the decision after reporting a muscle problem during the warm-up. It gave Germany’s defeat a sense of tragedy without their captain, which made the team even more endearing to their fans.

“We actually wanted to be champions of Europe and not champions at heart,” Voss-Tecklenburg said. “But if the great performances have helped us win our way into the hearts of the German people, then we are happy to be heart champions.”

Pride in performances and disappointment in losing have led some to accuse the German football association of not doing enough to support female players and of treating women’s football as secondary to men’s.

“The fact that there is no real awareness is demonstrated when three matches of the German Cup (men’s) are scheduled at the same time as the women’s final at Wembley,” said the spokeswoman for the Greens parliamentary group, Britta Haßelmann, to the DPA news agency. “Support for young girls and women who love football needs to be massively increased. It cannot fail due to the financial resources of the federation. It really needs to start now. »

Government spokesman Wolfgang Büchner said he planned to do more for women’s football, although he did not give details. He said Germany’s performances in England meant she was “a role model for many women in sport and also in other areas of society”.

German football league president Hans-Joachim Watzke has said he hopes the Voss-Tecklenburg side’s run to the final – and the interest it has generated at home – will have an effect training in the Women’s Bundesliga, where the number of spectators is generally quite low.

“Tournaments are beautiful and important, but ideally they should reflect everyday sporting life. I would love to because I see the huge commitment put into women’s football. But in the end it’s always the same – you vote with your feet,” Watzke told Kicker magazine.

Watzke, who is also chief executive of men’s heavyweight Borussia Dortmund, spoke about the low income generated by women’s football compared to men’s football in relation to the debate over equal pay between male and female players.

“Obviously equal pay is the goal. But with equal income,” Watzke said.

Speaking to daily tabloid Bild, German and Bayern Munich player Lina Magull called for players in the first and second divisions to be paid minimum wages.

“We players should earn enough from the second division that no one has to work part-time anymore. We are talking about a minimum wage of 2,000 or 3,000 euros per month,” Magull said. “This is how you can advance the development of women’s football in a sustainable way.”

Speaking to the German squad returning to Frankfurt, German Football Association president Bernd Neuendorf said the players’ efforts at Euro 2022 had inspired a fresh start for women’s football in the country.

“We saw the end of a tournament on Sunday, but also the start of something quite big. We can all be happy about that,” Neuendorf said. “Of course, we hope to bring many women and young girls into football through this wonderful tournament.”


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James R. Rhodes