Germany took control of Group B at Euro 2022 with a 2-0 win over main group rivals Spain in Brentford.
The Spanish had the majority of possession in the first half, but Germany scored the goals. Klara Buhl took advantage of a stray pass from Sandra Panos to give Germany the lead in under three minutes before Alex Popp headed in a corner to make it two.
Irene Paredes was lucky not to be red carded when she brought down a breaking Popp in the second half, while an outstanding save by Merle Frohms from a Mariona Caldentey volley kept Spain goalless.
Germany have now qualified for the last eight and face Finland in their final group match on Saturday, while Spain and Denmark square off in a match to decide who will join them from Group B.
Class is permanent. Even without their two most high-profile players, Spain were the clear tournament favourites of those in the know.
Tonight, we were reminded of everything we know about Germany. The eight-time champions nullified Spain brilliantly despite a deficit in possession, keeping their chances to a minimum while clinically converting two of their own.
They’ve won a difficult Group B with a game to spare and can now rest players ahead of a quarter-final against either Norway or Austria. You never write them off as the cliché goes, and a history of performances such as this remind you why.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – MARINA HEGERING (GERMANY)
There were two excellent performances at centre-back tonight, and the expert marshalling of Germany’s back line to keep Spain at bay by Hegering gives her the nod ahead of Paredes. That’s two clean sheets in a row for Germany against the highest quality of opposition.
Germany (4-3-3): Frohms 7; Gwinn 6, Hendrich 6, Hegering 8, Rauch 7; Oberdorf 6, Dabritz 5, Magull 7; Huth 6, Popp 7, Buhl 7
SUBS: Lattwein 6, Wassmuth 7, Kleinherne 6, Dallmann 6, Brand 6
Spain (4-3-3): Panos 5; Batlle 6, Paredes 7, Leon 6, Ouahabi 6; Aleixandri 6, Bonmati 6, Guijarro 7; S Garcia 6, L Garcia 6, Caldentey 7
SUBS: Pina 6, Cardona 6, del Castillo 6, Guerrero 6
3’ GOAL! GERMANY 1 (BUHL 3) SPAIN 0 What a disaster for Spain! They try to play it out from the back, and Panos tries to pass it out to the right. Buhl intercepts it in the area, turns past Parades and blasts the ball into the bottom corner!
10’ HUGE CHANCE! A brilliant, first time ball from Guijarro sends Lucia Garcia clean through on the centre of goal. She rounds Frohms, but goes too far wide and can only wrap her foot around the ball and send it into the side-netting.
37’ GOAL! GERMANY 2 (POPP 37) SPAIN 0 This is so simple. The corner is floated right into the six-yard box where Popp, from a standing jump, glances a header into the bottom corner to double the lead. It caught a slight deflection off Guijarro, but that’s Popp’s goal.
57’ SURELY A RED CARD? Germany hack a clearance downfield and it’s a foot race to the loose ball between Paredes and Popp. There’s no one else around and Popp gets there first, and looks to be clearly brought down by Paredes. Our referee Frappart waves play on though, and Germany can’t quite believe it!
71’ WHAT A SAVE! A lovely dinked ball into the area finds Caldentey, who sidefoots a volley to the top corner. Frohms, at full stretch, does brilliantly to tip it over the bar!
81’ DISALLOWED GOAL! Wassmuth gets through Spain’s high line from a through pass and is clean through. She rounds Panos and tucks it home, but the flag goes up immediately and she was indeed offside.