Chief Football Correspondent
Those last nine minutes, the final labor of waiting that stretched back 56 years, stretched the distance. England’s players packed the last few drops of energy into their weary bodies and dispensed them all not in the service of achieving something, but to ensure that something didn’t happen.
Meanwhile, the English fans, 87,000 or so inside Wembley, whistled, sang and made any possible noise, looking for any offset activity whatsoever to make time pass a little faster, to make it more bearable. Wait, wait, and then it’s finally over. England was, after all, the European champion. Finally, England was the champion of something,
It wasn’t particularly beautiful when, in the end, the goal that finally ended Germany’s stubborn resistance rang out on the third when Chloe Kelly asked deep into overtime, the deciding act of a European Championship final that veered between physical strength and risky. And sometimes it’s harsh.
Not that anyone cares, of course, nor should they. All that mattered was that moment, that moment that has eluded any English football team since 1966 and has never been given to a women’s football team in England. England has its crown, and with it the flag – as the song goes – that football has finally come home.
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