Germany have booked their spot in the Euro 2022 quarter-finals and topped Group B after a clinical 2-0 victory against Spain at the Brentford Community Stadium.
The Germans again showed why they are considered among the tournament favourites as they secured three points with two goals in the first half.
It took just three minutes for their pressing game to come up trumps again, having been so effective against Denmark. A poor clearance from Spain goalkeeper Sandra Panos saw Klara Buhl with the ball at her feet and made it count as she fired Germany ahead.
In the 36th minute, Alexandra Popp scored her second successive Euros goal in as many appearances, expertly nodding home from Felicitas Rauch’s corner to ultimately seal Germany’s path into the quarter finals.
It was a game that showed just how much Spain are missing star players Alexia Putellas and Jennifer Hermoso. They looked like a classic Spanish side with slick passing, wonderful attacking play and plenty of possession – but they lacked a cutting edge, having just three shots on target.
They will now face Denmark on Saturday in a straight shootout for the second quarter-final spot. The winner will face England in Brighton on Wednesday evening.
Spain could have hit back soon after Germany’s opener. Patricia Guijarro’s defence-splitting pass epitomised all the good things about Spain, with Aitana Bonmati racing onto it. She then found Lucia Garcia, who rounded goalkeeper Merle Frohms, but could only smash her effort into the side of the net.
Jorge Vilda’s side continued to dominate possession with some easy-on-the-eye football. Guijarro, Garcia and Mariona Caldentey played some neat one touch football on the edge of the area, before the latter sent an effort wide.
Spain were arguably unfortunate to concede a second just before the break for their play, but lacked the cutting edge Hermoso and Putellas have so reliably brought.
Popp fired warning shot in the opening seconds after half-time, and was soon involved in a controversial moment that could have seen Spain reduced to ten players. As Popp looked to race onto a forward pass, she tussled with Irene Paredes and was hauled down.
She appealed for a red card, but experienced referee Stephanie Frappart waved away the claims with VAR also not reviewing the decision.
Spain continued to probe for their goal and Germany goalkeeper Merle Frohms made one of the saves of the tournament so far in the 71st minute. Guijarro lifted a sublime long pass into the area for Caldentey’s run, but the latter’s volley was pushed away expertly but an inspired Frohms.
Germany had the ball in the back of the net for a third time shortly before full-time, but Tabea Wassmuth was flagged for offside long after the incident had occurred. It look to be a tight – but correct – decision from the linesperson.
But luckily for Germany, they did not need a third to make sure of their victory as they cruised into the knockout rounds.
What the managers said…
Germany manager Martina Voss-Tecklenburg: “The players had a big challenge, yesterday was a very difficult day, the game euphoria was gone and then the Covid case [Lea Schuller]… some players were worried, even now we don’t know what’s going to come in the next few days.
“I was fighting together with the team from the touchline. I may not have run as much as they did, but I was also giving it my all.”
Spain boss Jorge Vilda: “I hope this will help us for the next game and for the future. We have to prepare ourselves mentally. After the goal, we may have played our best 30 minutes.
“I think we [applied ourselves]; the team has been consistent. Now it’s time to recover and prepare for the Denmark game, when we will play to reach the quarter-finals.”
Germany bring their group stage to an end against Finland on Saturday at the Stadium MK; kick-off at 8pm. At the same time, Spain will return to the Brentford Community Stadium to play Denmark.
Germany have now booked a quarter-final spot on Thursday July 21, facing the runners up of Group A.
Keep up with all the latest from Euro 2022 across Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.
Coverage will be anchored by Sky Sports WSL presenter Caroline Barker, alongside Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will give analysis throughout the tournament.
They will also be joined by experienced England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.
The pundits and presenters will work from the Sky Sports Women’s Euro 2022 Mobile Presentation Bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team around the country to the various stadiums where matches are being played.
In addition, Sky Sports’ Essential Football Podcast will be rebranded for the tournament to Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast from 21 June. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a strong programme line-up around the tournament.