Germany advance to quarterfinals, exert muscles on sorry Sweden

Celia Sasic scored twice and set up Anja Mittag for another as highly-touted Germany negotiated their first Women’s World Cup knockout hurdle easily, eliminating Sweden 4-1 Saturday afternoon at Ottawa’s Lansdowne Stadium.

The win booked Germany a quarterfinal Friday in Montreal against the winner of Sunday’s France-Korea Republic clash.

"I think we were clearly the better team," Germany manager Silvia Neid said after the match. "We played well, but we are not yet world champions, and we now have to focus on likely France."

Sasic set up Mittag to put the Germans ahead in the 24th minute, then scored from a 36th minute penalty and a 78th minute header as Silvia Neid’s team controlled much of the match on a warm afternoon in the Canadian capital. Linda Sembrant got the lone Swedish goal with eight minutes left before Dzsenifer Marozsan scored an outstanding, individualist’s goal, stretching out remarkably to beat Hedvig Lindhal with two minutes remaining in normal time.

That Marozsan goal made the final score reflect the nature of a match which showcased Germany’s credentials and again exposed Sweden’s lack of attacking balance and overall speed.

Germany, in fact, could have been two goals ahead in the first three minutes, but neither Alexandra Popp nor Simone Laudehr could convert golden opportunities. Popp shot over the open near top corner inside the first minute when she was left alone eight yards away, then Laudehr was put in one-on-one against Lindahl but saw the Swedish keeper prevail in the challenge.

The gilt-edged chances didn’t continue to flow but the Germans were very much on top when Mittag and Sasic combined to punish Swedish loss of possession in midfield in the 24th minute. The two exchanged passes before Mittag come down the inside left channel, stepped inside 22 meters out and smacked her shot past the diving Lindahl. It hit the inside of the far right post before settling into the net for her fifth strike of the tournament.

Germany nearly got caught out three minutes later when Saskia Bartusiak had to take a yellow card to stop a Sofia Jakobsson break down the left. That card means Bartusiak will miss the German quarterfinal, however, as it was her second of the competition.

Mittag and Sasic combined again — with the help of a poorly-executed tackle by Manda Ilestedt that was deemed a penalty kick by the North Korean referee — to make it 2-0 for Germany in the 36th minute. This time it was Mittag running onto the pass and being caught in the area by the tackle. Sasic put away the spot kick.

Sweden had a chance to get back into the match in the final minute of the first half but Jakobsson could not get her far post header on the frame from Lotta Schelin’s fine cross from wide on the right. Nadine Angerer was somewhat fortunate to not be beaten by a Therese Sjogran 55th minute Swedish corner that nearly tucked in at the far post, but the veteran German keeper reacted well and scrambled the ball away from danger. Sweden was making few chances so the failure to convert what they did create meant the Germans were never seriously under pressure.

Lindahl had to finger-tip a Lena Goessling cross from the left over the bar in the 64th minute as the Germans came close to the third, which finally did arrive with 12 minutes left. Then it was Sasic getting her second with a close range header after Laudehr’s shot deflected off the midsection of Sara

Thunebro, rattled against the left post and came back neatly for Sasic. Sembrant got Sweden its consolation in the final 10 minutes with an excellent header to Sjogran’s pass but for most of the afternoon the Swedes could not pressure the German defense or Angerer, who did have to make one more late save to deny Jakobsson.

Marozsan finished things with her goal and Sweden left Canada without a win, having drawn three before Saturday’s defeat.

"Germany’s a very good team, and they deserve to advance," Sweden manager Pia Sundhage said. "I’m really sad at the fact that we didn’t advance to the next round, because it means so much to the women’s game in Sweden, that’s really tough."

Quotes via FIFA.com