Playing before a solid crowd and a great atmosphere, the German women's national team were able to best France 2-1 behind an Alexandra Popp brace on Friday night in Dresden.
|Alexandra Popp||Steffen Prößdorf CC-BY-SA 4.0|
Bundestrainerin Martina Voss-Tecklenburg had to field a team without Sara Däbritz, Lina Magull, and Laura Freigang during this particular international break. Additionally, starting right back Giulia Gwinn had to withdraw on short notice after suffering a knee injury in training. Attacker Nicole Anyomi - scorer of one of the more memorable goals in July's competition - filled in for Gwinn on the back line. Kathrin Hendrich, Sjoeke Nüsken, and Felicitas Rauch also serves in the back-four ahead of keeper Merle Frohms.
As per usual, the highly talented Lena Oberdorf worked from her solo-six-slot in midfield. Linda Dallman and Lena Lattwein buttressed the front three featuring Svenja Huth, Klara Bühl, and team talisman Alexandra Popp. The veteran Popp earned her 122nd cap for country. After having to pull out of the Euro Final on short notice, the 31-year-old VfL Wolfsburg center-forward didn't get a chance to net another goal during her two appearances in the final two qualifying matches in September.
The ever-competitive French trainer Diacre hasn't shifted her starting XIU since the Euros. All of her first-choice players remained on the pitch and drove forward ambitiously early. Delphine Cascarino and Kadidiatou Diani were able to break through the German flanks on the flanks in the opening ten minutes. The line ahead of Frohms nevertheless held and kept things nice and tidy. Voss-Tecklenburg's crew, meanwhile, had some difficulty pulling coherent counters out of the sustained pressure.
The pattern mostly repeated and there wouldn't wouldn't be a legitimate chance on goal for either side until Diani hit the outside of the net in the 37th. Three minutes later, Ouleymata Sarr forced Frohms into a diving save as the French ratcheted up the pressure. The German women were able to punch back with some quality counters as half-time approached. Nüsken nearly reached Popp with a brilliant ball over everyone in the 43rd. French keeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin rushed out to snatch the ball away from the onrushing Popp.
Popp would not be denied off a corner one minute later. The squad captain - in a move reminiscent of her second tally in the Euro semi-final - defiantly rose higher than the marking Aissatou Tounkara to head home the 1-0 in the 44th. Clearly energized, Popp came out determined after the restart. The skipper nearly set up the subbed on Jule Brand seconds after the whistle blew. Popp would have her brace before the 48th was out. Brand rushed through on the right before laying off for Huth. Popp could easily tap in Huth's perfect cross at the far post.
Diacre's team were able to generate some chances shortly after the 2-0. Frohms had to be alert to fist away a well-taken free-kick in the 57th. After that, the Germans resumed pressing and the French committed several defensive errors. Popp narrowly missed her hat-trick with a header wide at the hour-mark and a whiff on a Huth cross three minutes later. Five minutes from time, France were awarded a penalty when Frohms was adjusted to illegally tackled Lindsey Thomas in the box.
Viviane Asseyi duly converted from the spot to pull a goal back, but the match ended with the Mädels prevailing 2-1. Next up for the German women's national team, it's a pair of friendlies against the rival USWNT over in the states. Women's football fans can check out two of the best sides in the world pair a pair of exhibitions in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 11th and at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey two days later.
The two Germany vs. USA matches will conclude the German women's team calendar year.