Taking it to the corner is time-wasting at its best, and this was an absolute masterclass from Sarina Wiegman’s side — particularly Chloe Kelly and Ella Toone. And they only took it to the right-hand corner.
But it wasn’t just those two who helped England wind down the clock after Kelly gave them a 2-1 lead against Germany in the 110th minute.
At one point, goalkeeper Mary Earps held the ball for 20 seconds at a goal kick.
Lucy Bronze took 26 seconds to take a throw-in.
Wiegman made a sub to stop Germany from taking a throw of their own.
Toone and Russo tried to read Germany’s note that was being passed around by their substitute.
Kelly dribbled away from the corner only to be told in no uncertain terms by Toone — who was pointing where to go — that she must take the ball back into the corner.
Diego Simeone will have loved it.
There is a lot of fuss often made about zone 14 and its importance when it comes to attacking moves, but we don’t hear much about zone 15 or zone 18 when you need to see out a game…
And it was in those areas where England completed the majority of their passes after Kelly’s goal.
Here’s a full breakdown of how England brilliantly shut Germany out to become champions of Europe…
Germany actually responded well to going behind for the second time, breaking down the right-hand side and floating a dangerous cross into the box that Bronze heads clear. Then they play a hopeful through ball all the way through to Earps.
England launch the ball long to Kelly, who is busy cheering up the crowd…
She wins a free kick after being fouled by Lena Oberdorf, so the Germany head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg decides it’s time to make a substitution — and Lena Lattwein brings on a note with instructions for her teammates.
Lattwein passes the note to Kathrin Hendrich and Toone tries to have a look to see what Germany are up to…
Hendrich passes it to her center-back partner Sara Doorsoun-Khajeh, who had been brought on earlier in extra time.
Now it’s Russo’s turn to try to see what Voss-Tecklenburg has planned…
Forty seconds after Kelly won the free kick, Millie Bright played it short to Bronze and, for the first time in this post-Kelly goal world, England tried to work the ball into the corner on the right-hand side. It’s cleared away and Germany breaks again, with Giulia Gwinn’s shot deflected behind for a corner.
Earps eventually claims it and quickly realizes she has a job to do…
She bounces it a few times, shouts at some teammates, then, 20 seconds after gaining possession, throws it to Bronze…
Kelly gets it high on the right for the first time and combines well with Toone to win a throw-in with the clock at 114min 39sec…
Kelly gestures for Bronze to take her time coming to take it…
Twenty-six seconds after England won the throw, Bronze takes it and Kelly draws a cheap foul from the Germany full-back Gwinn, who is livid…
Kelly is soon back in possession in the corner after Toone was shepherding the ball near the corner flag. Kelly bursts inside but then shields the ball and does a U-turn, sending the defender the wrong way and going back towards the corner…
Her team-mate Toone is all for it — you can see in the screengrab below she is actually pointing where she wants Kelly to go…
Normal service resumes.
Germany win a throw but waste it and England have a chance to make it 3-1, with Russo’s shot tipped over well by Germany goalkeeper Merle Frohms.
Frohms appears to gesture for the ball so it can quickly be placed at the corner and England can restart play. Wishful thinking on every part.
Fifty-two seconds after Frohms does that, Lauren Hemp is being told by the official that the ball is not in the corner quadrant…
She moves it once, but that’s not good enough and she’s told to move it again…
Hemp plays the corner short to Kelly, 72 seconds after Russo’s shot was tipped over the crossbar.
Kelly showboats by flamboyantly dummying to kick it and then puts her right foot on the ball, doing a few dragbacks, but Germany wins a throw.
Kelly pressures the throw-in and Germany kicks it straight out of play. Bronze throws the ball to Russo and England takes it back to the corner.
Then they win another throw-in.
Bronze takes 16 seconds to take this latest one.
Then Germany wins a throw, but Wiegman makes a substitute to delay them taking it, slowing down the game even more.
On comes Nikita Parris for Hemp and Wiegman is there on the sideline checking her watch.
Hemp takes her time going off despite the referee’s best attempts to make her get on with it.
With 25 seconds of regulation extra time remaining, Germany finally took the throw but gave it straight to England. Kelly and Russo take it into the corner…
And then celebrate winning a throw.
The heat map below from Opta shows just how much England’s possession was concentrated in Germany’s corner after Kelly’s goal.
The fourth official signals for two minutes of stoppage time. Bronze takes the throw and England wins a free kick.
Kelly stands over it.
Then Toone stands over it.
Then Toone plays it short to Bronze and England win another throw. The German players are livid at this point.
With less than a minute to go, the camera pans to Wiegman on the sideline taking a HUGE breath.
Bronze throws it into the corner and Germany clears the ball, but it comes straight back at them and Kelly, quite clearly offside, shoots wide.
The final roll of the dice. The Germany goalkeeper Frohms launches the free kick towards the England box…
But Jill Scott is there to head it clear and, as the ball is hit forward, the referee blows her whistle and Kelly jumps in the air.
Cue pandemonium in the stands and on the pitch.
This was brilliant game management from Wiegman and her players. There were no theatrics, they didn’t fake an injury or anything like that. They just kept the ball, took it into the corner, wasted a bit of time on set pieces and at the end of it all, they were crowned European champions.
(Top images: Getty Images)