Milton Keynes, England (CNN)The bitter taste of defeat is something Germany's women have rarely experienced at the European Championships.
Even on a night like tonight, when for much of the second half it felt as though the team was merely hanging on for survival against a ferocious and tenacious French side, Germany somehow found a way to win.
Alexandra Popp's goals either side of Merle Frohms' own goal gave Germany a 2-1 win and passage through to the final of Euro 2022, where it will face England in a mouthwatering clash on Sunday.
But this was a battle that Germany will likely still be feeling come the end of the week, while France's players will perhaps still be wondering how it isn't them taking on England.
Chance after chance came and went for France in the second half before Popp, who has become Germany's leading light at this tournament, made Les Bleus pay dearly with a clinical header 13 minutes from the end.
After battling its way through Wednesday's grueling semifinal, there will be no test that this Germany side will fear facing and the team will be confident of extending its extraordinary Euros record to nine titles.
Germany's loss in the quarterfinals of Euro 2017 ended its remarkable 22-year reign as European champion. To put the country's dominance in this competition into context, of the 12 editions of the Women's Euros that have been contested, Germany has won eight of them.
This iteration of the national team is desperate to take its country back to the pinnacle of European international football and has recorded a couple of impressive results at Euro 2022 thanks largely to its stingy defense, which was yet to concede a goal at the tournament.
Conversely, France has very little Euros experience. Wednesday's match marked the first time it had reached the semifinals of a European Championship and the team had endured a bumpy road to get there.
First, there was significant surprise when it was announced that stalwart midfielder Amandine Henry had been left out of the squad for this tournament, which sparked reports of discontent within the French camp, before star striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto suffered an ACL injury in the group stages.
But to France's credit, there were no early signs that this team was to be overawed by the occasion or its opponent.
The opening 20 minutes were a tense affair as both teams began the game by just feeling each other out. Neither side seemed willing to commit enough bodies forward to truly trouble the other, but France began showing flashes of the danger it possesses on the counterattack.
Wingers Delphine Cascarino and Kadidiatou Diani in particular were posing a threat to Germany's so far unbeatable back line.
However, it was Germany that mustered the first meaningful effort of the game as Alexandra Popp's wicked free-kick was brilliantly tipped around the post by goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.
It was a testament to the quality of the save that a number of German fans inside the stadium had already begun to rise out of their seats in celebration, only to be left disappointed by Peyraud-Magnin's fingertips.
The sizable group of French fans in the corner to the right of Peyraud-Magnin's goal had the perfect view of their goalkeeper's heroics and cheered with approval, before leading