Germany Secure Their Semi-Final Spot With Nervy Win Over Austria
The eight time European Champions secured their place in the semi-finals but it wasn’t as easy as the score line may suggest with Austria hitting the woodwork on three occasions as Germany almost paid for their missed chances.
Germany boss Martina Voss-Tecklenburg made four changes from the team which beat Finland 3-0 in their final group stage match as Oberdorf, Rauch, Magull, and Kleinherne stepped in for Doorsoun, Lattwein, Dallmann, and Hendrich. The Germans were looking to get a step further than what they managed five years ago in Holland going into the match in London.
Austria made just one change, which was a forced one, as Arsenal’s Viktoria Schnaderbeck dropped down to the bench with a knee problem as Georgieva came into replace the centre-back. Austria looked strong as the runners-up of England’s group and would hope to match or beat their achievements of five years ago when they came third in the tournament.
Germany came into the tie as the favourites but Austria started better as they came out of the blocks looking the better side hitting the post early on as Georgieva got on the end of a corner.
However, even with Austria’s bright start to the match, it was the Germans who took the lead just twenty-five minutes in. The trouble came down the left-hand side as Buhl dispossessed Wenninger just outside the area as she drove herself into the penalty area and pulled it back to Magull who slotted it into the bottom corner to make it one nil against the run of play.
The goal changed the game as it clearly woke the Germans up as they started to control proceedings and Austria looked second best. Tecklenburg’s team almost added a second before halftime as Huth fired in from the right-hand side but Zinsberger was equal to it to ensure the Austrians would be just a goal behind at the break.
Germany looked strong as the two teams emerged from the halftime break as once again Buhl was causing problems down the left-hand side as her pull back was smashed against the post by Gwinn.
Austria quickly grew back into the match and in the space of just ten minutes had two shots bounce off the woodwork. The first came as Frohms cleared her lines poorly as she gave it straight to Dunst who took a long-range effort which was looping and crashed the crossbar. The second came as German failed to clear their lines from a corner and it dropped to Puntigam who smashed it low and hard but it agonisingly hit the post as Austria hit the woodwork for the third time in the match.
Buhl had been causing Austria nightmares all night down the left-hand side with her brilliant passes but this time she did it herself. The Bayern Munich forward cut inside and unleashed a brilliant shot that looked destine for the top corner but it smashed off the crossbar and denied her an excellent goal.
It was getting tense and nervy with just minutes to go and Austria gave the ball away to Popp who went clear through on goal but decided to square it across to Buhl who somehow managed to miss the open goal as she put wide and missed a brilliant chance to put the Germans two nil up.
However, just as the game was ticking into added time, Buhl didn’t need to worry about her missed chance costing them the match as Popp scored to secure their place in the semi-finals. Austria were caught playing out from the back and as Zinsberger went to clear away, Popp threw herself at the ball blocking the shot and sending it into the Austrian net for two nil.
The eight-time European Champions were through but it wasn’t as easy as the score line may suggest with Austria hitting the woodwork on three occasions as Germany almost paid for their missed chances but they did book their place in the semi-finals.