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Prolific popp sends Germany into Euro 2022 finl against England

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Germany will face England in Sunday’s Euro 2022 final after Alexandra Popp struck twice to beat France 2-1 in Milton Keynes on Wednesday.

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The German captain’s opener was quickly cancelled out by Merle Frohms’ own goal, but Popp’s towering header 14 minutes from time sent the eight-time winners into another final at Wembley.

Popp had been at risk of missing the European Championship for a third time due to injury, but the Wolfsburg striker proved her fitness in time after two knee surgeries and has gone on to be the star performer of the tournament.

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The 31-year-old’s double took her level with England’s Beth Mead on six goals in the battle for the Golden Boot, matching the record for a single women’s European Championship held by Inka Grings from Euro 2009.

That tournament ended in a German rout over England in the final and Die Nationalelf will be hoping for a repeat as they aim to upset the hosts in front of a sell-out crowd of 87 ,000.

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In contrast to Germany’s pedigree at the women’s Euro, France were in the last four for the first time.

Les Bleues were left to regret a series of missed chances early in the second half as they lacked a clinical goalscorer without the injured Marie-Antoinette Katoto.

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Popp gave France a warning of what was to come when her powerful free-kick from the edge of the area was brilliantly clawed away by Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.

The French goalkeeper was helpless five minutes before halftime when Svenja Huth’s cross picked out Popp, who smashed home a volley into the roof of the net.

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That goal ensured the Germany skipper became the first woman to score in five consecutive European Championship games.

But the lead lasted just five minutes in unfortunate circumstances for Frohms.

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Kadidiatou Diani’s fierce strike from outside the box came crashing off the post into the back of the Wolfsburg goalkeeper and into her own net.

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Frohms more than made amends at the start of the second period with a brilliant save to her left to turn Wendie Renard’s header behind.

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Selma Bacha’s goalbound effort also rebounded behind off Kathrin-Julia Hendrich’s face and Diani’s shot from a narrow angle stung the palms of Frohms.

But France failed to make that bright spell count and were made to pay by Popp’s predatory instincts.

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Another Huth cross was hung high into the Milton Keynes sky and Popp timed her leap perfectly to power a header into the ground and past Peyraud-Magnin.

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