2015 Women’s World Cup – Germany vs France – Germany Survives French Storm in Instant Classic

Starting Tactical Lineup (from FIFA.com)

Starting Tactical Lineup (from FIFA.com)

PRE – It’s the clash of the titans, much too soon in the eyes of most. On pure talent, these two sides are worthy of meeting in a final, but one will instead not even get the full complement of seven matches in Canada this Summer. Both will be working minus one starting defender with France missing Boulleau through injury, and Germany without Bartusiak through suspension. That may well increase the odds of a goalfest in this most fascinating of encounters between these European giants.

1′ – Oh my God. How are France not already ahead? Some forty seconds in, Le Sommer nods a long ball into the path of Thomis, who jets down the sideline. She bends a cross back to just inside the area and a wide open Necib. She has Angerer dead to rights at the left side of the goal but hits it wide. Shocking miss.

4′ – France free kick bounces around the box a bit before Georges’ awkward falling half-volley goes well wide.

6′ – France have another free kick, almost central from a little more than twenty-five yards out. Two efforts blocked by the wall. Henry tripped again on the near flank for another free kick. Necib plays short, but the referee gets in the way! Majri makes the most of it and hurries a shot, but it goes wide.

9′ – Necib cracks a shot from range that whizzes past the post and dents the adboards. All France early.

12′ – German free kick. Goessling drives it into the corridor of indecision, and Bouhaddi decides to go for it and gets there with a punch. It’s a bouncer right to Peter though, and France are fortunate that Georges hammers the bounce from that header out of danger.

13′ – Kemme slides through Houara from side/behind at the far sideline, with a borderline booking type challenge. Abily tries to flick on the free kick but puts it wide of the target.

15′ – Maier, waaaaay high up the pitch, taps to Laudehr right near the endline. The winger evades Necib and crosses across the six, which leaves Bouhaddi wandering a bit. Sasic should score with a reasonably open header via some slack marking from Georges, but she gets it all wrong, sending it off-target.

19′ – France leave Mittag open from range, which isn’t advisable. Her powerful effort is off the mark though.

23′ – France break up a German passing triangle at the edge of the box and counter the other way, with Delie springing Thomis in the box. She tries to cut it back, but Le Sommer has the idea of running far post, so the ball just finds a German.

25′ – Another golden French opportunity. Thomis gets down the flank and crosses in for Delie, successfully fronting Maier. The French forward’s header isn’t on-target though.

28′ – Germany has a free kick on the near flank. Goessling lofts it towards the penalty spot, where Mittag has a couple of efforts, including a blindside overhead volley blocked. It caroms out to Maier outside the box, but her hard shot is held well by Bouhaddi.

29′ – Another golden chance for France. Delie gets to the endline and manages to cut it back towards the penalty spot for Necib. Maier gets a great last ditch tackle in though, and a follow-up by Majri is blocked as well.

33′ – Mittag crosses towards the edge of the area towards Popp, who brings it down with a nice chested effort. She cuts inside, finds space, and shoots but right at Bouhaddi who picks up the soft, low effort with no problem.

35′ – Necib gets it in midfield and turns past Maier while cutting inside towards the area. She dishes back to Henry, who has an open lane to shoot as the German defense sinks back. The midfielder’s effort is a bullet towards Angerer, but the veteran keeper gets behind and stops.

37′ – YELLOW CARD – Germany (Mittag) – Mittag is booked for spiking Houara late with her studs. Painful.

38′ – Long ball by France is headed back towards the box by Krahn. Necib jostles with Peter as the ball bounces in the box and twists into a half-volley that forces Angerer into a brilliant save to push it wide.

39′ – Germany clear the initial corner kick but only as far as Majri, who whisks a shot wide for France.

41′ – Henry again running the show in midfield for France. She spreads wide to Thomis, who crosses in towards the goal, with Angerer rising and batting away from Delie’s head. She doesn’t catch though and is fortunate no France player is there to clean up.

42′ – Swift counter up the pitch by France, with Thomis and Delie playing a one-two into the box. Thomis opts to shoot instead of going far post with a cross to open French attackers, and her effort from a tight angle is to the keeper.

HT – A breathless first half, that’s surely the best of this tournament thus far. France will wonder how they aren’t ahead, given some of their chances. Angerer has made some crucial stops, while the French finishing hasn’t been good enough. They’re still bossing the game, but it remains to be seen if they can keep this pace up for ninety minutes. Germany are far from down and out though and have plenty of weapons off the bench to turn the game on its head.

46′ – SUB – Germany bring in Dzsenifer Marozsan for Mittag, who’s on a yellow. Big roll of the dice for Neid.

48′ – Popp tries a backpass to Kemme, with Thomis lurking. That ends about as well as you’d expect, with Kemme wobbling to the floor and Thomis able to cross into the box. Header goes wide, while Germany clear the blocked shot.

50′ – Solid chance for Germany. Sasic plays it to Marozsan at the near edge of the area. The sub threads the needle with a cutback pass to Sasic at the top of the arc. She hits it first time, with the low, hard shot forcing Bouhaddi to push away. She spills but rushes to catch up to it and smother.

52′ – Necib swings a free kick towards the far post, with Delie leaping up and heading an off-balance effort wide. Renard looked to have a clear path to the ball with a header behind Delie, but the duo got their wires crossed.

55′ – YELLOW CARD – France (Delie) – Delie gets booked for driving a forearm into the throat of Peter on a 50-50. Nothing malicious, she was just trying to establish position. Recklessly.

57′ – YELLOW CARD – France (Georges) – Marozsan, who’s been impressive early since booming on, dribbles centrally and gets slid through by Georges who doesn’t come close to getting the ball. Marozsan ends up taking the free kick and hits an absolute peach, finding the gap through the wall, but Bouhaddi dives at full stretch to push behind.

64′ – GOAL – France (Necib) – You can’t say they haven’t deserved it. Houara lofts a long ball from midfield towards the box. Peter heads away from one danger and right to another, with her clearance right to Necib. She’s unmarked and takes a few touches before shooting from the top of the arc. Deflection helps the shot by the diving Angerer.

67′ – YELLOW CARD – Germany (Goessling) – Goessling rips Le Sommer down at the halfway line as France tries to break. The referee has been busy this half.

68′ – YELLOW CARD – Germany (Marozsan) – Another booking, though this one is certainly more debatable. Marozsan charges after a ball in the French end but slides for it and clips Renard instead. A bit harsh.

69′ – SUB – France make their first change…and it’s an interesting one. Thomis comes out for Claire Lavogez. Out of gas? Has to be the only reason she comes out considering her impact on the match.

70′ – SUB – AWK favorite Sara Dabritz comes on for Germany in place of Popp, who’s had an uneven day.

71′ – Dabritz makes an immediate impact, as she pounces on a scramble in the box after a free kick, forcing a corner by having a shot blocked.

72′ – After having a shot blocked on the corner, Laudehr shoots just wide of the open post. Could be a costly miss.

76′ – Majri draws a foul on the edge of the area close to the farside boundary. Abily sets up Necib, but her shot is deflected. It’s eventually bounced up to Angerer, who catches easily.

79′ – SUB – Germany uses their final change to bring on Melanie Behringer for Lena Goessling. Central midfielder for central midfielder? Not sure that’d be my last change chasing a goal.

83′ – PENALTY – Germany (Sasic) – Unbelievable! Maier cuts into the box and tries to cross centrally, but the ball hits the upper part of Majri’s arm on the way. Referee has no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Sasic steps up and goes low and hard to the left with Bouhaddi going the other way.

88′ – Semi-controversy, as Lavogez gets into the box with some space but throws herself theatrically to the ground in front of Peter. That should be the easiest yellow card for simulation on the planet, but no whistle.

90′ – Lavogez goes down in a heap after jumping into a 50-50 with Kemme. The French attacker goes up, the German defender bends down, sending the young forward tumbling to the floor.

FT – Onto extra time we go for the first time this tournament. France were in control for most of that half too and took a deserved lead before being pegged back late. Since that penalty, Germany have looked the brighter side and will fancy their chances of winning it in the extra frames. More drama to come, surely.

91′ – SUB – Out of the break, France makes their second sub, with Gaetane Thiney on for Le Sommer. Thomis and Le Sommer out. Bergeroo’s gonna get raked over the coals if France lose this.

91′ – YELLOW CARD – Germany (Leupolz) – Leupolz clatters Necib at center circle and is booked.

93′ – Germany win a corner, but the delivery is catching practice for Bouhaddi.

97′ – Bouncing back header from Germany is intercepted by Delie with a lot of space in front of her. She squares for an open Necib, but as she’s about to step into the area, Kemme comes in and hockey checks her to the floor. Incredibly, the ref doesn’t blow her whistle. Thiney shot is blocked, and Angerer slides to claim after a mad scramble.

99′ – Necib cranks a shot through the arc that is blocked by about three different Germans with the whistle going for handball on Krahn. With half the French players standing over it, Majri hits it right into the wall. Gah.

101′ – SUB – Another French attacker off. Delie comes off for Kheira Hamraoui.

103′ – Germany growing in strength. After a couple of close shaves with passes, Maier crosses inside to Dabritz, who can’t get more than a weak shot off, which Bouhaddi deals with easily.

HT in ET – The needle is pointing towards ‘E’ for both of these teams, but Germany look more likely to make something happen. It’s getting a bit ragged, and you’d have to say the good money is on penalties with fifteen minutes to play.

106′ – Leupolz swings an elbow at Hamaraoui while battling for a 50-50, and the end result is an nasty cut on the nose of the French sub, who’s bleeding all over the place and needs treatment as France win a corner.

109′ – Angerer punches a corner away. Behringer stays down in pain after the clearance. Hamraoui finally allowed back on the pitch as Behringer walks off for treatment.

116′ – That’s a nightmare miss. France switch to Lavogez on the near side. She fights through one tackle but Germany prod free briefly. France get it back and play a neat triangle to Houara. Houara gets into the box and bends a cross far post to a wide open and just onside Thiney. German defenders all put hands up and stop, but Thiney puts it wide with a wide open net. Miss of the tournament.

120′ + 1′ – Hamaraoui drops a half-volley onto the roof of the net after Angerer punches from a corner. That’ll probably do it.

120′ + 2′ – Marozsan shoots for the far post but Bouhaddi shows safe hands to hold.

FT – Will France’s slew of missed chances come back to haunt them? Germany’s record on penalties is almost spotless…

PEN – Germany – Behringer SCORES (placement, mid-right) – 1-0, GER

PEN – France – Thiney SCORES (placement, low-left) – 1-1

PEN – Germany – Laudehr SCORES (placement, mid-right) – 2-1, GER

PEN – France – Abily SCORES (placement, mid-right) – 2-2

PEN – Germany – Peter SCORES (power, upper-left) – 3-2, GER

PEN – France – Necib SCORES (power, upper-left) – 3-3

PEN – Germany – Marozsan SCORES (placement, lower-right) – 4-3, GER

PEN – France – Renard SCORES (placement, lower-left) – 4-4

PEN – Germany – Sasic SCORES (power, lower-left) – 5-4, GER

PEN – France – Lavogez SAVED – Germany advances on penalties, 5-4.

AP – Boy, this one will be talked about for years to come. Just a sensational match, easily the best of the tournament. France had a barrel of chances to win the game in regulation and extra time but just couldn’t seal the deal. Germany persevered and came up trumps in the shootout. Bergeroo’s subs, taking out his best attacking talent, and the decision to put Lavogez in as the fifth shooter will be debated for a long time to come. Unfortunately, it’s another disappointing exit for the French. But the Germans will fancy their chances at a title after this titanic clash.

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