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Popp Star / Euro 2022 / Half / Germany-France / SOFOOT.com

Second top scorer in the Euro behind the English Beth Mead, Alexandra Popp will be the main threat to the defense of the Blue Wednesday night. The 2016 Olympic champion had to overcome many obstacles to finally play her first Euro, at the age of 31, so she is sinking into it with full teeth. A bit like the animals she likes to take care of so much at the zoo.

07/27/2022 at 9 p.m.

Euro 2022

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Germany also has its Mickey Diary. And the July 8 issue honors Alexandra Popp. The captain of the Mannschaft shares the cover there with Daisy Duck. Changed into a duck, the blond-haired attacker plays the main role of the magazine’s comic strip by coming to help the Donaldville team win a badly boarded match. A scenario that the interested party helped to develop by bringing her ideas. A scenario especially similar to that which seems to be written for three weeks in England, where Popp (118 caps, 57 goals) pulls Germany up.

Popp, Germany style

The triple winner of the Champions League, however, started the tournament on the bench, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg preferring Lea Schüller for the start against Denmark. No matter: she puts on the costume of supersub and smacks a victorious header in the 86e minute. His very first goal in a Euro, at 31, celebrated with tears in his eyes by the one who had missed the 2013 and 2017 editions through injury. “I found it hard to believeshe told Canal +. It all seemed a little surreal at the time. It’s a milestone that means a lot to me. I was able to show through my combativeness and my mentality that I am still a force to be reckoned with. I’m not just here to do extras, I want to be important to the team. »

Schüller positive for Covid-19, Popp finds the eleven against Spain, rainbow armband around the biceps. Results ? Another successful helmet shot, almost back to goal, between Laia Aleixandri and Patricia Guijarro. Then a third, with a stung head, against Finland. Against Austria, it was the pressing of the number 11 on goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger who allowed her team to scrape the ball and quickly project themselves towards the cage to open the scoring. It was again by throwing herself starving out the door that she was able to counter her clearance and score her fourth goal of the tournament at the very end of the match. An encounter that she had prepared by making a detour… to the London zoo, recharging her batteries with coatis, penguins and meerkats.

“We can have a connection with kangaroos”

Comfortable with the ball, the attacker is just as comfortable with animals. In parallel with her sporting career, she trained at Essehof Zoo to become a caretaker. “I love working with animals. You can have a connection with kangaroos, raccoons or donkeys” she explained to theottawa citizen. Still touched by her encounter with a gorilla at the Duisburg zoo, “an indescribable moment” where she had plunged her gaze into that of the monkey, poppi got into the habit of scanning the surroundings in search of animal parks. A ritual that is part of its balance. “It’s very important for my mind. In football, we are under stress, we travel a lot, we get tired physically and mentally. Here, with the animals, I recuperate, I recharge my batteries, I find inner calm” he told AFP in 2019.

Friend of beasts and herself a footballing beast, the powerful center forward could once again have missed the Euro train. Victim of a knee cartilage tear in April 2021, she was originally due to return in January… It was counting without a relapse during a friendly match. Forced to spend once more on the billiards, Popp finally had to wait until March to reconnect with the adrenaline of competition, after 315 days of absence. Despite a season with only fifteen games and two goals with Wolfsburg, coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has maintained her confidence. The native of Witten now walks in the footsteps of Inka Grings, scorer six times during Euro 2009. And good news for Germany: as a trainer, she must know how to go about taming Renard.

Wendie Renard of both surfaces

By Quentin Ballue

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