Germany advance to Round of 16, claim Group B's top spot
Lena Petermann scored twice as Germany brushed aside Thailand in Winnipeg 4-0 to seal the top spot in Group B and set up a meeting with a third place side yet to be determined. Germany's Round of 16 match will take place on June 20 in Ottawa (Live, Saturday, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, 4 p.m. ET).
This game was far more lopsided than the score suggests. Depending upon your point of view, the Germans were either wasteful (they needed 27 shots to score three goals) or realistic. With passage into the knockout rounds virtually assured before kickoff, the Germans knew that a win would lock up the group on goal difference and that the overmatched Thais were unlikely to offer much resistance. And they were right.
Now, the Thais have shown an ability to score at this tournament as well as a bit of speed. In fact, one of the shocks of the tournament was Thailand's 3-2 win over Cote d'Ivoire that gave them a theoretical shot at the Round of 16 as well coming into Monday's game. Whether or not the War Elephants can now progress is an open question given their goal difference. But against a weakened German side that rested several players, Thailand still looked badly outclassed.
To be fair, Thailand are amateurs in the world game. Germans have a fully-professional program and that showed from the outset. As the Thais set up to bunker and (hopefully) counter, Germany gratefully ate up possession and peppered their goalframe.
Keeper Waraporn Boonsing was kept busy from the start with young starlet Dzsenifer Marozsan taking an early cut on the ball that the Thais were happy to see fly wide, followed up by Sara Dabritz firing in a full volley into the side net. Leupolz blew in a long shot that Boonsing held well, followed by Celia Sasic popping up to nutmeg a defender that required a smart stop from the Thai keeper.
Boonsing had a standout game against a German side that had 19 shots in the first half alone. Still, it only took 25 minutes for the Germans to seize the lead, a simple looped header over a Thai defender on the line from Melanie Leupolz. You did feel that if the Germans really cared, they could have blown the Asian side out in the first half. Instead, you had the sense that the Germans were saving their powder, avoiding injuries and playing with the knowledge that the job was already done.
The Thais had occasional forays forward, but on the ball, they were slow and amateurish, requiring the kind time to settle the ball that a decent team does not allow. The crowd cheered when Kanjana Sung-Ngoen raced at Nadine Angerer's net -- after all, who doesn't love an underdog -- but she wasn't even able to get a clean shot off.
Lena Petermann would then nod home a cross from Bianca Schmidt in the 55th minute, and what little resistance the Thais had left evaporated. Petermann then nodded the ball in two minutes later off a corner kick and the Germans were able to put the game to bed. Sara Dabritz sidefooted home in the 74th after a good cutback from substitute Anja Mittag to pad the scoreline a bit more.