Germany beats France 4-2 at women’s World Cup

Inka Grings scored twice to lead Germany to a 4-2 win over

France to reclaim top spot in Group A at the women’s World Cup on


Kerstin Garefrekes opened the scoring in the 25th minute, and

Grings scored in the 32nd before halftime substitute Marie-Laure

Delie pulled one back for France in the 56th.

France goalkeeper Berangere Sapowicz was sent off for bringing

down Fatmire Bajramaj in the 65th, and Grings converted the

resulting penalty in the 68th.

Despite only having 10 players, France was back in it when

defender Laura Georges scored from another corner in the 72nd in

front of 45,867 fans at the soldout Borussia Park.

Celia Okoyino da Mbabi finally made the game safe when she

scored in the 89th.

”We weren’t able to hold onto the ball long enough,” Georges

said. ”We’ll have to improve on that.”

Both teams had already qualified for the quarterfinals with only

the order of the group to be decided. Germany will now play Japan,

with France meeting England in the final eight.

Germany coach Silvia Neid opted to leave the tournament’s

all-time top scorer with 14 goals, Birgit Prinz, on the bench with

exciting winger Bajramaj starting instead.

”She was very agile, very active and she defended well,” Neid

said of Bajramaj. ”Sometimes she missed the point of passing the

ball to another player, but I’m really happy with her.”

The German coach said Prinz told her before the game she was not

in a position to play from the beginning.

”Birgit is just as happy as anyone else today that we gained

three points, and that we’ll be playing Japan,” Neid said.

Okoyino da Mbabi sprayed a wonderful ball wide to Bajramaj in

the 15th, but her effort from the right was easily dealt with by


With both sides fielding attacking lineups, Germany began to

dominate possession with quick passing and clever running, but

simple mistakes betrayed a level of anxiety exacerbated by the

expectant crowd.

Germany’s pressure eventually paid off when Babett Peter’s

floated free kick was met by the head of Garefrekes for her second

goal of the tournament.

”I tried to get to the ball and it was so great to see it go

in.” Garefrekes said. ”We knew we could play better and tonight

we had fun.”

France pushed forward in search of a response, earning a corner

from which Germany scored in a smooth counterattack.

Okoyino da Mbabi switched defense to attack with another

wonderful pass to Grings. Her attempted return reached Simone

Laudehr, whose perfect cross was headed past Sapowicz by


France coach Bruno Bini responded by bringing on Delie for

Elodie Thomis at halftime, and the Montpellier striker pulled one

back from a corner shortly afterward.

Grings then tested Sapowicz from a free kick, before Bajramaj

fired disappointingly wide from a promising position.

Finnish referee Kirsi Heikkinen showed a straight red card to

Sapowicz for fouling Bajramaj, who was through on goal.

Grings sent replacement goalkeeper Celine Deville the wrong way

to restore Germany’s two-goal lead. But Georges scored soon after

to give the French some hope of an unlikely comeback.

Delie might have equalized a minute later but her shot drifted

wide from close range, leading to stern words for her defense from

Germany ‘keeper Nadine Angerer.

In the space of a minute, Grings hit the side-netting, Camille

Abily cleared Bajramaj’s effort off the line, and Lena Goessling

hit the crossbar as Germany pushed forward.

Gaetane Thiney had the chance to equalize, before Okoyino da

Mbabi put the result beyond doubt.

”We’ve a very strong squad but also some great individual

players,” Okoyino da Mbabi said. ”Now we’ve won the game, we’ve

21 very happy people.”


France: Berangere Sapowicz, Laure Boulleau, Wendie Renard, Laura

Georges, Laure Lepailleur, Elise Bussaglia, Sandrine Soubeyrand,

Gaetane Thiney, Louisa Necib (Camille Abily, 46), Eugenie Le Sommer

(Celine Deville, 68), Elodie Thomis (Marie-Laure Delie, 46).

Germany: Nadine Angerer, Babett Peter, Saskia Bartusiak, Annike

Krahn (Alexandra Popp, 78), Bianca Schmidt, Lena Goessling, Simone

Laudehr (Ariane Hingst, 46), Fatmire Bajramaj, Celia Okoyino da

Mbabi, Kerstin Garefrekes, Inka Grings.

Referee: Kirsi Heikkinen, Finland.