After the third win in the third game at Euro 2022, national soccer player Alexandra Popp gives a personal assessment of the preliminary round in England in an interview with DW. It is the first European Championship for the DFB captain.
Alexandra Popp: I'm very happy, regardless of my start, but above all about our team start, which we really achieved with a lot of conviction, with a lot of self-confidence, which I don't think many people expected. That we put it on the record like this makes me very happy and proud.
Did you think you could play such a good role in this tournament?
What does thought mean? I was hoping, let's put it that way. Of course, one cannot predict that it will work in any case. It's game dependent, I didn't know at the beginning if I was playing from the start. You also have to say that, sadly, I also learned from Leas [Lea Schüller noted. Red.] Corona infection benefits. This is nice for me on the one hand, but not nice on the other because it happens under such circumstances. What counts in the end is what suddenly hangs in the goal: That was the ball, so of course, I'm happy that it worked out the way I hoped and showed me that I can still do it.
You missed the European Championships in 2013 and 2017 due to injury. Do you still mourn these tournaments?
Not anymore, to be honest. Right after I dropped out, of course. In 2013 we became European champions, so maybe I would have had it on my résumé, that would be nice. It's no use thinking about it for years, mourning it, so to speak. I have to accept the situation as it is. I also accepted it in a fighting manner by being right here and being able to play in this European Championship. First of all, I'm very proud of that.
Everything is going almost perfect for you. Could this tournament still be her last?
The fact is, of course, that I'm not the youngest anymore. I can't tell now if that's the end of it or if I'll continue, whatever. Now would be the wrong time to think about it and make a decision. Basically, there has to be a feeling from within to hit them. For me, the here and now counts. This is my first European Championship, which I also fought for: I'm here now and things are going extremely well for me personally, but also for the team. I just want to help the team, be it with goals, be it by clearing spaces or providing assists. As long as we hopefully stand there as European champions with the trophy in our hands, everything is fine with me.
You scored all three goals in the European Championship with your head. Has your header still not gotten around to the opponents?
I think this is nothing new now. You already know from the past that I'm pretty strong there. But I also had to wait a relatively long time to meet again. Maybe that's why I wasn't really on the radar anymore. Of course, it's good for me, it's my favorite discipline. The nice thing is, if everyone's focus is on my head, maybe they're not focusing on my feet anymore. Possibly there will be something else.
How can the younger players in particular benefit from your experience?
Of course, we have to take them with us in certain situations. At the last game, there were a few more spectators than in Brentford. You can tell that the players are very nervous. We are there to give them particular security. But when you see how the younger ones like Jule Brand or Nicole Anyomij play in their first tournament, you wouldn't think that they are extremely nervous. That leaves you wanting more.
Already have a plan for July 31st?
Raise the trophy? That sounds like a good plan.
Thomas Gennoy asked the questions.