Germany sealed their place atop Euro 2022’s Group B with an intimidating 2-0 win over Spain.
After England’s 8-0 demolition of Norway on Tuesday, the bar had been set very high as these two tournament favourites went head-to-head in Brentford. And they didn’t disappoint, delivering a dynamic and enthralling battle that would have England on high alert.
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The tone for the match was set early on when Sandra Panos made an uncharacteristically lazy pass out from defence, delivering it straight to the feet of Klara Buhl. The winger composed herself quickly, shifted the ball onto her left foot and then lasered it into the bottom corner.
Spain started slow against Finland too before rebounding to an emphatic win, but Germany are no Finland. Still, Spain being Spain had a massive chance as a beautiful pass from Patri Guijarro sent Lucia Garcia clean through on goal. The Athletic Club striker rounded the German goalkeeper but went too far wide and couldn’t drag her shot back in.
Klara Buhl's game by numbers against Spain:
100% aerial duels won
3 tackles won
2 chances created
A vital part in Germany's qualification for the quarter-finals. 👊 pic.twitter.com/sGx4qW2Wcr
— Squawka (@Squawka) July 12, 2022
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Spain were fully in control after the German opener, but that state of affairs seemed to suit Germany just fine. Die Nationalelf sat back, soaked up everything Spain could throw at them, and just kept on going about their business.
Then just beyond the half-hour mark, Felicitas Rauch whipped a corner into the box and Alexandra Popp launched herself and guided a header into the back of the net. Germany’s second of the game, Popp’s second of the tournament, and from that point it looked all over.
Spain dominated the ball, and the game. They had 68% of the possession and they out-passed Germany 525 to 184, but they only managed to crack-off two shots on target and the Germans never really looked all that bothered or under threat.
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It wasn’t that Germany can only play this way. They absolutely obliterated Denmark in the first round of games, dominating the ball and the match, but today when they had to they shifted gears and got the win they needed.
This win was the perfect response to England’s dominance against Norway, because it was the exact kind of performance a team would need to put on in order to stand a chance against the rampant Lionesses.
Germany didn’t have the ball, just as they wouldn’t against England, and they drew comfort and strength in that. They looked happy and comfortable without the ball. Marina Hegering and Kathrin Hendrich soaked up cross upon cross, pass after pass, and just cleared their area.
Alexandra Popp's first half by numbers against Spain at #WEURO2022:
5 duels won (most in the match)
A huge role in Germany's half-time lead. 💪
— Squawka (@Squawka) July 12, 2022
Merle Frohms wasn’t that active, but still pulled out a massive save from Mariona Caldentay in the second-half. A gorgeous looping pass from Patri saw Mariona volley the ball goalwad but Frohms stretched and palmed it away. So she can be decisive when she has to.
That was the extent of the Spanish threat in the second-half. Beyond that, Germany repelled everything thrown their way. As they would have to do against England who, thanks to this result, they now cannot meet until the final.
As winners of Group A and B, England and Germany go into separate halves of the draw for the knockout rounds and should no one be able to beat them (and on current evidence only France would stand a chance) they will meet at Wembley on July 31st in the perfect final of attack vs. defence.