Mead, Popp and GOAL's Euro 2022 Team of the Tournament

Beth Mead Alex Popp Kosovare Asllani England Germany Sweden split Getty/GOAL

The 2022 Women's European Championship came to a close on Sunday evening at sold-out Wembley, with England lifting their first ever major title for the women's team on an historic occasion.

It was a superb ending to a brilliant month of football, one in which the star performers were perhaps not those that many expected.

That has introduced and highlighted a number of excellent stories throughout the summer, many featuring in GOAL's Team of the Tournament...

  • Daphne van Domselaar Netherlands Women 2022Getty

    GK | Daphne van Domselaar (Netherlands)

    It was just 22 minutes into the Netherlands’ tournament that Daphne van Domselaar’s summer took quite the turn.

    None expected the 22-year-old to get on the pitch in England, with captain Sari van Veenedaal the Dutch No.1. But an injury to the veteran changed things very quickly.

    Having come into the Euros with just one cap to her name, Van Domselaar was one of the stories of the summer. No goalkeeper made more saves, as she routinely drew gasps of astonishment from the crowds with her incredible reflexes.

    Showing amazing composure in a high-pressure situation despite her lack of experience, she certainly took her chance this summer and could well be the Netherlands’ new first-choice shot-stopper.

  • Ona Batlle Esther Gonzalez Spain Women 2022Getty

    RB | Ona Batlle (Spain)

    Spain might have exited the competition in the quarter-finals, but right-back Ona Batlle was superb this summer in both halves of the pitch. Even in the game against England which ended in defeat, she did exceptionally well to keep the opposing wide players quiet.

    The 23-year-old has made a real name for herself at Manchester United as someone who can defend as well as she attacks, and she showed that again at this tournament.

    Only England's Rachel Daly, who played two extra games, won more tackles than Batlle, and only two players won more duels - both, again, played more matches than her.

  • Millie Bright England Women 2022Getty

    CB | Millie Bright (England)

    For several years, one of England’s big problems has been in defence, in stopping sloppy goals from being conceded and helping their top centre-backs translate their club form to international level.

    This summer, it was not a problem at all and Millie Bright was crucial to that. The Chelsea defender was a rock at the back, not letting anyone or anything past her no matter what the cost.

    But it’s not just her strength and aerial presence that helped the Lionesses win the tournament. Her ability on the ball and in possession allowed the team to build up so well from the back and dominate games.

  • Marina Hegering Germany Women 2022Getty

    CB | Marina Hegering (Germany)

    Hampered by injuries, Marina Hegering played just 307 minutes in the league for Bayern Munich last season, which was hardly ideal preparation for a major tournament.

    However, if you didn’t know that before watching her performances, you wouldn’t have suspected it. She was immense at centre-back, with no player making more interceptions in England. The 32-year-old also ranked fifth for the number of times she won possession.

    Only England conceded fewer goals than Germany in the Euros and Hegering, with her leadership as important as her form, was at the heart of that record.

  • Sakina Karchaoui France Women 2022 Getty

    LB | Sakina Karchaoui (France)

    After her time with eight-time European champions Lyon came to an end after just one season, some wondered what was next for Sakina Karchaoui. But if anyone doubted her ability to be a top left-back, she has spent the last 12 months proving them wrong.

    In her first season with Paris Saint-Germain, she starred, named in the team of the season voted for by the league as well as the XI chosen by the players.

    She carried that form with her to England, proving to be an excellent outlet going forward for France while also being effective defensively.

    In fact, only player four players won possession back more often than Karchaoui, who did so at a rate of more than 10 times per 90 minutes.

  • Lena Oberdorf Germany Women 2022Getty

    CM | Lena Oberdorf (Germany)

    It’s difficult to over-state just how good Lena Oberdorf was at the Euros. Assuming the crucial role as defensive midfielder in front of a Germany backline that people had questions about, she was aggressive, fearless and non-stop to keep quiet even the best playmakers on show.

    Once she had broken up an attack, she was quick to get her team on the front foot again too, playing incisive passes forward and even creating a few chances herself from deep.

    It’s incredible to think she is still 20 years old and has so many more years ahead of her where she will no doubt continue to dominate on the world stage.

  • Keira Walsh England Women 2022Getty

    CM | Keira Walsh (England)

    Often the unsung hero in this England team, Keira Walsh won a lot of overdue plaudits this summer for her instrumental role in midfield.

    There are few players in world football that can ensure her team controls a game quite like the 25-year-old, a master in dictating the tempo of a game.

    It’s not just simple, short passes she plays either. Walsh can open play up with a long, sprayed pass and get the opponent immediately – and unexpectedly – on the back foot, such as her sublime assist for Ella Toone in the final.

    Combine that with her tactical awareness and good positioning and you’re looking at one of the most complete deep-lying midfielders around.

  • Kosovare Asllani Sweden Women 2022 Getty

    CM | Kosovare Asllani (Sweden)

    Every opponent that comes up against Kosovare Asllani knows all about her talent and what she can do – but that doesn’t make it any easier to stop her.

    The gifted playmaker ran the show for Sweden as they reached the semi-finals, ranking third for chances created, second for assists, third for dribbles completed and second for fouls won over the course of the summer.

    Footballers with her ability are often seen as luxury players, but Asllani has a work rate and defensive discipline that is extremely rare in her position. No player won the ball back in the final third more at the Euros, with her tactical intelligence integral in her team’s pressing.

  • Beth Mead England Women 2022Getty

    RW | Beth Mead (England)

    Winner of the Golden Boot, Mead also provided more assists than anyone else at the Euros. Those two stats sum up just how effective she is in that final third.

    Having started her career as a goal-scoring No.9, she has maintained that ability in front of goal despite moving out wide following her move to Arsenal five years ago.

    Her goal against Sweden in the semi-finals was a particular highlight, such was the quality in the touch, turn and finish at Bramall Lane.

    But she has also transformed herself into one of the best wingers in Europe, her technical ability and wonderful speed allowing her to create more chances than anyone else this summer.

  • Alexandra Popp Germany Euro 2022Getty Images

    ST | Alexandra Popp (Germany)

    After missing two European Championships due to injury, and being sidelined for 11 months due to a knee problem picked up early last year, Alexandra Popp finally made her tournament debut in July, at the age of 31.

    She marked that with a goal off the bench and then just didn’t stop scoring, bagging six goals in five games to finish top of the scoring standings alongside Mead, who claimed the Golden Boot with more assists.

    Sadly, she would miss the final due to injury, but she still provided special moments this summer, with her double in the semi-final against France standing out in particular.

    It’s not just about her goals though – Popp’s leadership, experience and winning mentality all contributed massively to the run Germany had.

  • Mariona Caldentey Spain Women 2022Getty

    LW | Mariona Caldentey (Spain)

    One of the most underrated players in world football, Mariona Caldentey showed her quality on the biggest stage in England despite Spain exiting in the last eight. In fact, in that quarter-final defeat to the hosts, she was arguably the best player on the pitch.

    Alongside an impressive Aitana Bonmati, the Barcelona forward ran the show in a variety of roles throughout the tournament, picking up spaces in between the lines, whether she was on the wing or moved more centrally.

    Once she picked up the ball, her creativity shone, with her ranking second for chances made despite going out of the competition earlier than those also ranking highly in the stats.

  • Alessio Russo England Sweden 2022 Getty

    Honourable mentions

    There was no shortage of quality across the competition, which makes it necessary for a few more name-checks – particularly between the sticks.

    Belgium’s Nicky Evrard was sensational, saving two penalties and making a number of brilliant stops as her country secured a surprise spot in the knockouts. Germany’s Merle Frohms and England’s Mary Earps were also impressive when called upon.

    It was a close call to pick Batlle over Germany’s Giulia Gwinn at right-back, who excelled on the way to the final and has an incredibly bright future at just 23. The other full-back spot was tight, too, with Verena Hanshaw having a superb tournament for Austria.

    No area of the pitch produced more stand-out performances than midfield, where Grace Geyoro, Sarah Zadrazil and the aforementioned Bonmati all had a case to be in this best XI.

    Geyoro’s hat-trick in France's 5-1 thrashing of Italy was superb, Zadrazil brought energy as well as her quality to Austria’s midfield, while no player played more successful passes in the final third than Bonmati.

    In the forward areas, Kadidiatou Diani showed her quality for France out wide, but was often moved into a central role mid-game which didn’t get the best of her. In the quarter-final with the Netherlands, for example, she produced perhaps the best 45 minutes of any player all summer when on the right, but was marked out of the game as a No.9.

    Germany’s Klara Buhl also deserves a huge mention, the 21-year-old a star for the present as much as the future, while England’s Alessia Russo was the definition of a super sub, scoring four times off the bench – the fourth of those a sublime backheeled nutmeg against Sweden.