Women's World Cup - Germany see off France

Tue, 05 Jul 21:56:00 2011

Germany saw off 10-woman France 4-2 in Moenchengladbach to win Group A of the Women's World Cup.

Women's World Cup - Germany defeat France

The result means England will face France in the last eight, while Germany will meet Japan.

The six-goal thriller boasted strikes from Kerstin Garefrekes, Inka Grings (two) and Celia Okoyino da Mbabi for Germany, while Marie-Laure Delie and Laura Georges were on target for France. Unfortunately for the French they also saw goalkeeper Berangere Sapowicz red-carded.

The opening exchanges of the match were reasonably even, although Germany shaded possession and were twice debatably called offside when they would have been in on goal.

France seemed to be coming into the game more but their momentum was ended when Germany opened the scoring in the 26th minute.

Babett Peter arrowed in a free-kick from the left wing which was met by an onrushing Garefrekes who evaded her marker and powered a header past Sapowicz and into the top corner of the goal.

Any nerves the Germans were suffering in front of a full house were blown away by the opener and then completely banished seven minutes later with the second.

France had responded to the first goal reasonably well and had won a corner but the delivery was poor and Germany broke with Simone Laudehr who eventually found herself by the left corner flag and then swung in an inch-perfect cross to find Grings who got in front of Wendie Renard and made no mistake with a header from six yards out.

Germany were in complete control now and although they did not really threaten again in the first-half they dominated possession, while France were really showing nothing in the final third.

The second-half started at a snail's pace and it looked like France were going to settle for second place in the group until out of nowhere they got a goal back.

Sandrine Soubeyrand swung in a corner in the 57th minute that perfectly picked out half-time substitute Delie who simply had to divert the cross into the corner of the goal.

Suddenly it was game on and Germany woke up as well. Grings fired a free-kick into the side-netting before a mistake from France handed the advantage back to Germany.

On 64 minutes Grings slid an excellent ball in to Fatmire Bajmaraj who was in on Sapowicz; the French keeper seemed to panic and threw herself at the incoming German, completely taking her out and conceding a penalty. The referee then had no option but to produce a red card and Spaowicz trudged off.

Substitute keeper Celine Deville came on to face the penalty but could do nothing about Grings's well-placed effort which restored Germany's two-goal advantage.

That seemed to have killed the game off, but again it was a corner that provided France with hope.

It was Soubeyrand again who put in the corner-kick on 72 minutes, this time picking out Georges whose bullet header put the game in the balance yet again.

France then had the perfect chance to equalise seconds later as the classy Soubeyrand played a reverse ball into Delie who was through on goal, but she dragged her shot badly and it trickled wide.

That proved to be France's last real chance and Germany closed out the game. Grings was involved again as she flicked on a cross from the left to find Da Mbabi at the back post. She calmly controlled and then fired a volley back across Deville and into the corner.

Both teams qualify but crucially Germany win the group and will face Japan, whereas France will play England in the quarter-finals.

Nigeria finished third in the group as Perpetua Nkwocha scored the only goal against Canada in the 84th minute, just one minute after the lights came back on following a floodlight failure.

Phil Haigh / Eurosport

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