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
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.