This was set out to be the most eye catching game of the group stage. Two big hitters playing each other in their second game of the tournament. Spain have a lot of hype, mostly thanks to Barcelona’s success, and Germany commanded attention when they demolished Denmark in their opening match.
It was Spain’s tiki taka vs Germany’s systematic intensity and physicality. Germany came out on top.
This game did live up to its tight and competitive billing to an extent. It did not have a wild score line that was seen in France vs Italy or England vs Norway. However, Germany were always in control, Spain were always chasing.
Like they did against Finland, Spain went behind early. This time though it was in shocking fashion. Sandro Paños tried to switch the play from the back but passed it right at Klara Bühl.
Bühl still had work to do with Irene Paredes closing her, but she did well, drilling into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 with barely 2 minutes gone. Nice settler for Germany, but Spain could really do without making that a habit.
There was a big chance for Spain to level it very early on (probably their best of the game). Patri Guijarro played a ball around the corner which took out about 7 German players and left Lucia Garcia racing through one on one with Merle Frohms. Garcia rounded Frohms but took it too wide and could only find the side netting. It really would’ve done Spain a favour if Garcia had scored that.
Spain dominated possession as you would expect. Germany could handle it though. On the whole they looked comfortable defending, probably helped by Spain having some teething problems with the build up and decision making in the final third.
Spain did come within a whisker of equalising though. Mariona Caldentey, who was involved in almost everything good for Spain, sacked off all of the edge of the box interplay and hit a shot that just about went over the bar.
However, just as Spain were starting to warm up, Germany killed them off by getting a second. Alexandra Popp doing what not many are better at than her, heading in from a corner. Popp is making up for lost time in the Euros thus far, with her second goal in 2 games.
Spain were left deflated at half time and needing to get the next goal, quickly, to rejuvenate themselves. Germany on the other hand, did exactly what they would’ve wanted.
Spain pressurised in the second half and did go close at times, but Germany absorbed it, never really looking extremely stressed.
It could’ve really went downhill for Spain when Paredes could’ve been sent off 10 minutes into the second half. She was the last defender against Popp running in behind and had a fistful of her shirt. Stephanie Frappert (the official with the most clout in the tournament) didn’t give it the time of day and VAR didn’t even have as much as a glance. Confusing. Germany were rather (and understandably) aggrieved.
Spain continued trying to pry and Germany required some excellent work from Frohms, first making a great tackle far outside of her box, then a finger tip save from a Caldentey volley.
Spain were trying to throw as much as they could at it, but it’s just wasn’t quite clicking as much as it should be for them.
It finished 2-0. Germany scored from their only 2 shots on target. It’s still very early days, and of course they aren’t invincible, but Germany look like a well drilled machine, who can attack and defend in equal measure. An ominous prospect for any opposition.
And as for Spain, 71% possession. 671 passes. 2 shots on target. Not a good look for Jorge Vilde. Yes they’ve lost two very influential players but the talent still in the team has astronomical talent and potential.
Germany top the group and will play Austria or Norway in the quarter final.
It’s down to Spain and Denmark to fight it out to play England in the quarter final, when they play each other on Saturday. You’d fancy Spain but Denmark will have a bounce after their win against Finland, if they can get Pernille Harder into the game, they’ll have a better chance.
This game doesn’t determine how far each team will go in the tournament. Germany are flying up the favourites list at full kilter. If Spain can iron out some kinks and grow into the tournament, they’ll most definitely still be up there as well.