(Reuters) – Germany’s Alexandra Popp may be playing in her first women’s European Championship final when they take on hosts England but she has shown no signs of nerves, fulfilling her media duties with a fake moustache in response to a joke by a German magazine.
Popp has been in red-hot form at the Euros, scoring six goals — nearly half of Germany’s tally — to top the goal scoring charts, with her double against France earlier this week powering Germany into Sunday’s final at Wembley.
Her dominance had prompted FUMS magazine to suggest she could play for the men’s team, posting a photoshopped image of Popp sporting a moustache with the caption: “Called up by (Germany men’s coach) Hansi Flick for Qatar 2022: Alexander Bopp.”
Popp casually walked in for her press conference wearing her cap backwards and nothing seemed amiss until she removed her mask, eliciting laughter when she revealed a moustache made of black tape as she said “Hello” with a deep voice.
“We just kind of joked around at breakfast this morning and then said that we’d just do it,” Popp told reporters. “I think the mood here in the team fits.”
FUMS magazine responded with a tweet https://twitter.com/fums_magazin/status/1553015443148922886 saying: “Alexander Bopp, best man! A lot of love for Alexandra Popp.”
Germany are seeking a ninth Euros title while England are looking to win their first and Popp said the pressure was firmly on the hosts.
“I think the pressure is more on the English side, precisely because it takes place in their own country,” Popp said. “We know that from 2011, suddenly everyone expects something from you.”
Germany hosted the 2011 women’s World Cup where they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by eventual champions Japan.
“We have nothing left to lose,” she added. “With that attitude we can go into the game completely free.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Pritha Sarkar)