Beth Mead won Women's EURO 2022 Player of the Tournament as England seals glory

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Women English footballer Beth Mead has been named Player of the Tournament by UEFA's team of Technical Observers in recognition of her massive contribution to England's historic title in the 2022 campaign.

On July 31, Wembley Stadium welcomed a record-breaking crowd of 87,192 fans who flooded in to behold the Women's EURO 2022 final between England and Germany. In an attempt to scramble home its first major title, Ella Toone clipped the Lionesses ahead with a curling lob just fifteen minutes after the hour mark. However, eight-time champion Germany, who lost their leading talisman, Alexandra Popp, before kick-off due to injury, showed why they have been reigning in European women's football with Lina Magull's sensational equalizer at 79. But then 24-year-old Chloe Kelly's extra-time game-winner sealed the Lionesses' victory that satiated their lengthy quench for a major international triumph. England burst into tears and joys as its warriors bring home the first major international success since the men’s team victory at the 1966 World Cup, as noted by the Washington Post.

Beth Mead won Women's EURO 2022 Player of the Tournament as England seals glory Marc Atkins

Of course, it's no denying that the young Kelly plays hero in England's historic feat. However, throughout the country's convincing journey to the trophy, we cannot forget to mention the name of Beth Mead. Even though Mead couldn't find the back of the net in such a cagey, nerve-racking game where everyone played carefully, she did earn herself two personal accolades, winning the Golden Boot and most notably, Player of the Tournament.

Beth Mead is England's top goalscorer in this campaign

Prior to the final, Mead was sharing the competition's top goalscorer status with German talisman Alexander Popp, both at six goals. However, with Popp out of the game due to injury, Mead's chance of sealing the goalscoring prize became unobstructed. While England's No 7 did not manage to score a single goal in the final against Germany, however, she still captured the Golden Boot thanks to her incredible five assists from the right wing - which is also the best statistic in the competition.

According to the Dailymail, the 27-year-old Arsenal winger featured in all six of her country matches and scored a breathtaking hat-trick in England's 8-0 smash against Norway in the group stage, winning the Player of the Match award twice. Her impressive form and major impact on the game throughout the campaign are enough for the technical team to pick Mead as the best-performing player.

Following last night’s match, Mead told BBC Sport:

'Sometimes football puts you down, but bouncing back is the best way. I'm speechless, I can't take it all in... I'm in shock. I've had a good cry with my mum and dad. I am so proud of this team, I love this team and I love this country!'

Prince William, who has been a staunch supporter of sports, took to Twitter to congratulate Mead and her teammates on their stunning feat. The father of three wrote:

'Sensational. An incredible win @lionesses and the whole nation couldn’t be prouder of you all. Wonderful to see history in the making tonight at Wembley, congratulations!'

Similarly, Her Majesty also released a touching statement to give a big round of applause for the brave women. Her statement read:

'You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.'

The trophy marks Mead's grand return

Last summer as England competed in the Olympics and won bronze, Mead was ignored and didn't receive a call-up, which was a hard blow at the winger's aspirations. Since that hapless event, however, Mead literally took vengeance on her opponents with her unbelievable streak of goals. In nine months, the 27-year-old scored four hat-tricks for her country, marking her grand comeback in such a destructive manner.

Beth Mead won Women's EURO 2022 Player of the Tournament as England seals glory Alex Pantling - The FA

At the club's level, Mead also had an impressive season with Arsenal, scoring 12 goals in 26 first-team appearances. However, her famous romantic relationship with ex-teammate Van de Donk sadly came to a halt after the latter moved to Lyon before the season started. Together at Arsenal, Van de Donk and Mead became a power couple admired by fans for their contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. Mead once spoke of how relationships such as her and Van de Donk's can help people feel more comfortable and easier to share their sexuality, according to Express. She said:

'I think if players like me and Danielle can make people feel more comfortable and proud of who they are, then that’s a good thing. I think it creates an environment for people to be able to talk and speak out about who they are regardless of what anybody thinks.'

Their romance went public in 2019 after the two spent two seasons together. They moved into Mead's apartment in London during the pandemic, before sadly splitting up in late 2021. The pair remains amicable after the split, though, with both of them still keeping snaps of each other on Instagram. Mead is now single and lives in London with her pet dog Rona.

© James Gill - Danehouse

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