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Europe: Euro Women
2 - 0
(1 - 0)
Germany W
Austria W
L. Magull (25), A. Popp (90)

German women head for semis after edging out Austria in thrilling contest

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

In a thrilling edition of one of international football's great rivalries, "Big Sister" Germany were able to defeat "Little Sister" Austria in a 2022 UEFA Women's quarterfinal match at London's Brentford Community Stadium on Thursday night.

In some respects, the goal-frame proved the star-of-the show. Both sides hit the woodwork thrice in a match full off chances. In the end, the German women were able to secure a highly deserved 2-0 victory and head to the semis for the first time since 2013.
German national team attacker Klara Bühl
German national team attacker Klara BühlSteffen Prößdorf CC-BY-SA 4.0
After two disappointing quarterfinal exits (2017 European Championship and 2019 Women's World Cup), the German women's national football team are finally back in the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time since their 2016 Olympic Gold. The eight-times European Championship continue to roll through a tournament in which they've outscored their opponents 11-0. Lina Magull and Alexandra Popp supplied the tallies in Thursday's 2-0 quarterfinal victory over Austria in Brentford on Thursday night.

Bundestrainerin Voss-Tecklenburg was able to rely upon the exact same starting XI used in the second group stage match against Spain. Midfield linchpin Lena Oberdorf and regular left-back Felicitas Rauch both returned from suspension. Lina Magull (muscular issues) was also once again passed fit to start. Accordingly, Linda Dallman, Sofia Kleinherne, and Lena Lattwein moved to the bench. Voss-Tecklenburg also reunited the highly effective center-halve duo of Marina Hegering and Kathrin Hendrich. Sara Doorsoun took a seat so that Hendrich could start.

Match one's lead striker Lea Schüller was once again available after finally testing negative for COVID, yet normal squad captain Alexandra Popp maintained her place act the top of the attack. Austrian national team head-coach Irene Fuhrmann actually had to do without her squad captain Victoria Schnaderbeck. The skipper's knee issues forced SC Sand defender Marina Georgieva to step into the breach. Otherwise, the ÖFB squad was unchanged from the 1-0 upset victory over Denmark last Friday.

After an opening "feeling out" stage ran 10 minutes, the two sides opened up to trade half chances. Play was, as expected, quite tense. While chances from open play were non-existent, both head-coaches showcased some very intricate set-piece designs during a slew of corners and free-kicks. Georgieva nearly always factored into the Austrian dead-ball designs. She gave the Germans a scare with a header off the post in the 13th.

The German Mädels had a great amount of difficulty establishing their approach play. Quality Austrian track-backs frequently broke up the forward builds. The DFB was nevertheless able to take the lead in the 25th via brute force. A powerful upfield header from Hegering proved too much for Austrian defender Carina Wenniger to control. Germany's Klara Bühl muscled her off the ball and drove into the box. Popp executed a cheeky little leave on Bühl's cutback, allowing the increasing Magull to fire home a bullet finish.

Keen not to waste a 1-0 lead despite being the less effective team, the Germans strove to take control of the match thereafter. This strategy succeeded. The Austrians produced nothing dangerous for the duration of the opening 45. Bühl, Svenja Huth, and Giulia Gwinn supplied the best German forward runs, without ultimately producing anything dangerous of their own at the end of the rushes.

Matters truly picked up after the restart. After Gwinn hit the post 30 seconds in, thrilling end-to-end action ensured during the opening ten minutes of the second 45. The Austrian underdogs took advantage of the extra space hit begin hitting the Germans with rolling counterattacks. A flurry of chances between the 52nd and 57th actually saw Fuhrmann's team hit the post twice!

The German defensive ranks were beginning to flail badly as the hour mark approached. Sara Däbritz was rightly booked for a cynical tactical foul on Julia Hickelsberger-Füller in the 59th after getting beaten badly on a direct duel. Voss-Tecklenburg tried to introduce some stability and calm into the affair with a double substitution in the 64th. Dallman and Lattwein relieved Däbritz and Magull.

It did not take long for the match to open back up again. After establishing a semblance of control with spread possession, the DFB Mädels again went on the attack. Popp and Dallman saw efforts not miss by much before the 70th hit. The Germans then really turned up the pressure.

When they weren't;t cutting into the box with immensely intricate combinations, the Germans peppered ÖFB keeper Manuela Zinsberger's goal with dipping and swerving ranged efforts. Oberdorf forced the keeper into a sprawl save in the 78th. Seconds later, Bühl hit the crossbar with a spectacularly bent effort from outside the 18. Bühl would miss a wide open net on a breakaway in the 82nd.

The second goal--arguably very much earned--came courtesy of a passing error from Zinsberger. The Austrian keeper attempted a clearance without noticing that Popp was charging in to apply pressure from her left. Zinsberger's struck ball bounced off Popp and into the net.

With the goal, Popp became the first woman to score in four straight matches of a European Championship in history. The DFB captain, who missed both the 2013 and 2017 tournament, is now a serious contender for the competition's golden boot. Only England's Beth Mead (5) has scored more.

The manner in which the bracket is set up leaves Germany and England on a collision course for the Final at Wembley on July 31st.

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