Zinsberger's messages of support after Euro's exit

Arsenal shot-stopper rediscovers her smile after mistake in Austria's 2-0 defeat against Germany in Euro 2022 quarter-final

Friday, 22nd July — By Catherine Etoe

Austria and Germany fans come together at Brentford

Austria and Germany fans come together at Brentford

THERE were tears at full-time, but Manuela Zinsberger left the European Championship with the smile back on her face after reflecting on a campaign to be proud of.

The Arsenal shot-stopper had stood tall in the Austria goal at Brentford in an end-to-end quarter-final against a Germany side sitting 16 places ahead of them in the world rankings.

But the keeper was stunned a minute from time as her attempted pass out from the back hit the outstretched leg of the advancing Alexandra Popp and flew into the back of the net.

Austria were already 1-0 down to a Lina Magull goal in the first-half and after hitting the woodwork three times, the underdogs were running out of time to find the all-important equaliser.

But it was a nightmare finish to the tournament for the keeper, who was key to Austria’s run to the semi-finals in 2017 and had pulled off 11 saves and two clean sheets in this tournament.

And it was 82-caps Zinsberger’s contribution to her national team that Arsenal and Austria defender Laura Wienroither was keen to highlight when she spoke to the New Journal afterwards.

“Nothing in this game was her fault,” she said. “I think she was a big backup in our game, she kept us in the game very often, she can be really proud and we also are really proud of her.

“Everyone makes mistakes in a game but it’s normal, we’re human beings so we’re really proud of her and I think she knows it.”

Zinsberger certainly seemed more back to herself by the time she came out to meet the press and reflected on the 2-0 loss and her own performances.

And the 26-year-old told the New Journal that teammates, including England captain Leah Williamson, had sent supportive messages in the aftermath.

“I just saw on my phone that Leah has texted me a great message, as other players did as well,” she said.

“I’m proud of my team, how we defended, how we worked against them, how we created chances against Germany which no other team in the tournament has created.

“All in all it just feels sorry that we didn’t get that bonus one goal for the chances we created. But congratulations to Germany, I hope they’re going to do a great job in the next game as well and we’re going to go again.

“I’m proud of myself, how I developed through the tournament, how I took those stages, how brave I played.

“I tried to step up a little bit more and when you step up a little bit more there’s more chances you are going to make mistakes. I’ll take those mistakes, reflect in the right way and I’m going to go again with pre-season for Arsenal.”

Zinsberger added that she was going to take a break before returning to Arsenal, but that would include cheering her club-mates on in the remaining knockout stages.

“We represented our club extremely good,” she said of the Arsenal players who have featured in the tournament so far.

“Laura [Wienroither] has played an unbelievable tournament,” she added. “When I look at the English players like Beth [Mead], Leah, Lotte [Wubben-Moy], Keets [Nikita Parris] – all of them, everyone is doing a really great job.

“I’m cheering also for England [who played] an incredible women’s football game, an incredible quarter-final [against Spain] and that is what I actually wish for the tournament in England, that we are going to push women’s football all together, every team. And now my smile is coming back so it actually feels a little bit better now!”

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