Germany qualified for the Euro 2022 quarter-finals as group winners courtesy of a 2-0 win over highly-fancied Spain on Tuesday evening.
Despite La Roja seeing 70% of the ball, first-half goals from Klara Buhl and Alexandra Popp were enough to see Germany to victory in a mammoth defensive team performance.
Spain will face Denmark on Saturday to determine who will take second spot in Group B and face England in the quarter-finals.
The game was billed as the head to head between the two powerhouses in Euro 2022’s so-called group of death – and Spain got the hotly-anticipated encounter off to a nightmare start. Goalkeeper Sandra Panos gifted Germany the opening goal inside three minutes, as her lax pass across the face of goal was intercepted by Klara Buhl. The Germany winger coolly rounded defender Irene Paredes and fired into the bottom corner.
Spain came within a whisker of biting straight back. Lucia Garcia latched on to Patri Guijarro’s clever first-time pass and nipped past Merle Frohms – but with the angle against her, she could only find the side netting.
La Roja continued to press for an equaliser, Mariona Caldentey bending an effort from range narrowly past the post.
Spain dominated possession, but it was Germany who added a second nine minutes before the interval, with Alexandra Popp climbing highest to glance home Felicitas Rauch’s corner via a deflection.
The second half followed much the same pattern, with the Spain pressure mounting but Germany continuing to remain resistant. Caldentey was again in the thick of the action, sending a stunning volley goalwards. The quality of the strike was matched by the quality of the stretching save from Merle Frohms as Germany saw out the game.
GK: Merle Frohms – 8/10 – Off her line quickly to time a challenge on Garcia to perfection in the second half. Produced a stunning save to tip over a Caldentey volley.
RB: Giulia Gwinn – 8/10 – Really composed on the ball in tight spaces. A key part of Germany’s big defensive performance to keep Spain out, with La Roja seeing little joy down the Germany right.
CB: Kathrin Hendrich – 8/10 – Won anything and everything in the air, blocked and cleared like her life depended on it. A commanding defensive display.
CB: Marina Hegering – 8/10 – Threw herself in front of everything to halt wave after wave of Spanish attack.
LB: Felicitas Rauch – 6/10 – Could have had a tough time of it after going into the book early in the first half but turned in a solid display. Provided the corner delivery for Germany’s second.
CM: Lena Oberdorf – 7/10 – Instrumental in harrying and disrupting Spain’s flow. Her robust, tenacious style and reading of the game suited the game down to the ground.
CM: Sara Dabritz – 6/10 – Full of running but not as effective as against Denmark, given how little of the ball Germany saw. Replaced with 15 minutes remaining.
CM: Lina Magull – 6/10 – Offered plenty of running and pressing but limited in her opportunity to have an attacking impact on the game, such was Spain’s dominance in possession. Replaced at half-time.
RW: Svenja Huth – 6/10 – The quietest member of Germany’s front three going forward, but did a good defensive job on the usually marauding Ouahabi.
ST: Alexandra Popp – 8/10 – Climbed highest to head home her second goal of the tournament. Caused the Spain backline all sorts of problems with her tenacity and aggression.
LW: Klara Buhl – 7/10 – Intercepted Paredes’ pass to give Germany the lead – still had a lot to do, demonstrating great composure to find the bottom corner.
SUB: Lena Lattwein – 6/10
SUB: Sophia Kleinherne – 6/10
SUB: Tabea Wassmuth – 6/10
SUB: Linda Dallmann – 6/10
GK: Sandra Panos – 4/10 – Gifted Germany their opener as her poor attempted pass to Batlle was easily intercepted by Buhl in the Spain box.
RB: Ona Batlle – 7/10 – Up and down the right flank relentlessly, bustling with energy and one of her side’s most impressive performers.
CB: Mapi Leon – 6/10 – Played out from the back well, caused problems with her set-piece delivery.
CB: Irene Parades – 5/10 – Sold by a Buhl dummy in the build-up to Germany’s opening goal. Fortunate to stay on the pitch after tugging Popp back in the second half as the German striker bore down on goal.
LB: Leila Ouahabi – 6/10 – Kept Huth quiet, got forward frequently, often looked to deliver early into the box.
CDM: Laia Aleixandri – 6/10 – Operating in a slightly unorthodox defensive midfield role. Cool and composed without have any lasting impact on proceedings.
RM: Sheila Garcia – 6/10 – Combined well with Batlle, drifting inside to allow the Manchester United full-back to overlap.
CM: Aitana Bonmati – 5/10 – Typically efficient in possession but frequently found herself swarmed by the bustling Germany midfield, and struggled to exert herself on the game as a result.
CM: Patri Guijarro – 7/10 – Sent Garcia scurrying through on goal with a fabulous flicked pass inside 10 minutes. At the heart of every impressive Spain move.
LM: Mariona Caldentey – 6/10 – Frequently drifted inside – almost drew Spain level with a fabulous bending effort from range. Out-jumped by Popp for Germany’s second. Almost pulled one back for Spain with a fabulously struck volley.
ST: Lucia Garcia – 5/10 – Could only find the side netting after being sent clean through in the first half. Replaced just after the hour.
SUB: Claudia Pina – 5/10
SUB: Marta Cardona – 5/10
SUB: Athenea del Castillo – 5/10
SUB: Irene Guerrero – 5/10