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Germany’s Alex Popp was hoping to break England hearts in the Euro 2022 final – but a last-minute injury before kick off cruelly ruled her out of the game.
The unfortunate striker – who scored a brace against France to send her national into the final – is actually a keen zookeeper when she’s not banging in the goals. She qualified as one in 2015 when Germany was still teetering with making the sport professionally in the women’s game. And as is clear from her Instagram page, she has a huge fondness for animals.
Jasmina Schweimler, a freelance sports journalist and German women’s football expert, spoke to The Telegraph about Popp. “She can also be the calm one at the back, telling everyone to do this and that – and to breathe. If you look at the squad we have, there are so many young talents who probably don’t know how to handle setbacks. She brings that calmness to the team.”
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Popp, 31, plays for Wolfsburg domestically, while injuries had plighted her chances of a call-up in the tournaments for 2013 and 2017.
She had an ongoing cartilage issue in her knee that required surgery and so only returned to competitive football in March. From then, it was a race to get in shape for the Euros. And it has finally caught up with her at the worst time.
Are there any other footballers with interesting qualifications? Let know what you think in the comments section below.
“This tournament is exceeding all her expectations,” Schweimler continued. “She just wanted to be part of this team. Making the squad was the main goal, and now she’s basically making history by scoring in five consecutive games. She’s our top scorer, what more can you ask for?”
Popp, who is the first woman to score in five successive games at Euros, said of her experience working on a zoo to Worldfootball in 2015. “It was very physical work (in the zoo), and I suffered in terms of recuperation. The animals are a great counterweight to football. I can sit in front of the monkey cage for two hours, and it just calms me down.”
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