BRENTFORD, England — For the third time in their last five games, Spain conceded within the first three minutes, leaving them deadlocked in their group game against Germany, a 2-0 loss on Tuesday. While Germany firmly maintained their place in the quarter-finals, Spain’s future at Euro 2022 depends on the outcome of their forthcoming final group stage game against Denmark.
For all the excitement surrounding the Euros so far, the biggest unpredictability has been how predictable the results have been. For the first time in a long while, all the Euro ‘favorites’ have emerged with their best football, leaving the second, third and fourth placed teams in each group looking helpless to stop them. And every time one nation delivered a statement performance, there was another the next day to change the narrative of which of the favorites would be holding the trophy at the end of the month.
From Germany tearing apart Denmark with ease, to France saying, “Hold mine Beer” two days later against Italy, after England reminding everyone they’re coming home this summer in their reckless exit against Norway on Monday – 12 games in the tournament, we’re yet to have an upset result after 90 minutes. But it also means that Germany vs Spain lived up to the advertised hype as it was played as you would expect from a Germany vs Spain match.
While Spain tried to get the ball on the ground and move it around while their players ran across the pitch and fluidly changed positions as the game dictated, Germany went forward with devastating accuracy. Playing from behind was enough to bring down a Spanish team who, while technically gifted, regularly struggled to bring their skills to bear.
Caught in the first minute and conceding a goal in the first game against Finland, Spain only lasted until the third minute before falling to Germany. When an incomprehensible short pass from Sandra Paños was converted by Klara Bühl, there was always only one result: the young attacker sent her low shot past the goalkeeper. Bühl became the 36th different player to score for Germany in Euro history – the most for any country in Euro history, and better than next nation, Sweden, with 28 different goalscorers.
“We all thought we would learn from the incident against Finland the other day, but we made a mistake in the third minute today,” said Spain coach Jorge Vilda. “Now let’s hope we don’t make those mistakes in the future. We have to be mentally ready to know how to start the game. I don’t expect the players to be perfect from the start, but I want them assert oneself well.” “
With the early advantage, it was more comfortable for Germany to sit back and let Spain have the ball as they wished, the eight-time European champions’ tough (but fair) tackles being a pillar of the game.
Without Alexia Putellas and Jenni Hermoso, Spain had lost much of their goal threat but, as always with the team, there was a real lack of understanding of who had to be the one who had to make the difference in the penalty area. Patri Guijarro, usually deployed deeper in midfield, was free to break into the box but the German defense held firm.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was that Spain couldn’t overcome their weaknesses like other ‘favourite’ nations, instead suffering from the same problems that have plagued them at every major tournament. Not quite as ridiculous as it was back then La Roja lost to England in the 2017 tournament after having 74% possession but still worrying for the side who had 66% possession against Germany and were unable to penetrate the steadfast German defence.
“They made the most of the few chances they had – we didn’t give them many,” said Vilda. “We created more ourselves and had more possession. We weren’t lucky on our side in front of goal. We have to stay calm as a team. They did what I asked them to do and if we keep going like this we will get the goals achieve.” .”
Alex Popp, who had scored once at Euros, scored two of two goals with a header in the first half and ended almost all of the Spaniards’ chances of winning the game or first place in Group B with 55 minutes left to prove.
Having lost just one game in Euro history after leading at the break (when they were knocked out by Denmark in the quarter-finals), The team put in an exemplary performance in the second half and didn’t let the dynamic Spaniards take too many shots at Merle Frohms’ goal.
The defensive resilience of the German side was evident when defender Marina Hegering was named Player of the Match after the defense worked tirelessly and harmoniously throughout the night. After their attacking team performance that saw Denmark, with their best player Pernille Harder, sidelined in the first game, Germany again controlled the game in Brentford, but this time without the ball.
The value of team spirit for Germany was shown throughout the evening as no matter what changes Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg made, the team continued to play in the same way. Conversely, when Spain coach Vilda went to his bench and found some of Spain’s best attacking talent, the team didn’t improve much on the pitch. The Spanish coach’s plans seemed limited, whose approach of simply asking the team to own the ball and move it forward was once again all too predictable for the team’s downfall.
“It was good that we scored the second goal before the break. Then we adjusted to a 4-5-1 and the team played really well,” said Voss-Tecklenburg. “We were ready to suffer today – we knew we wouldn’t have much possession but we wanted to use the switches to attack. Tactically everything worked today.”
Now Spain face the difficult task of beating Denmark in their final group game, a clash they will be favorites to see as the Danes continue to look lopsided against Finland today.
But for all the talk of Spain being the team with their name on their trophy this summer, they’d have to emulate the Germany team of 2013 who, through sheer determination and determination, wormed their way out of their group after finishing second to reach the final and pick up the trophy. The German team of 2013 is the only one in Euro history to finish second in its group and still win the tournament. So no pressure on it La Roja.
Germany face either Austria or Norway in the quarter-finals, while the final group game against Finland offers Voss-Tecklenburg a chance to rotate her squad. The manager will be forced to shuffle the deck despite the suspensions of Felicitas Rauch and Lena Oberdorf but it could end up being a training game for the European powerhouse.
“Confidence develops, you can’t train that,” said Hegering, the player of the match. “You have to be aware of that every day and work very hard, and I think in the last two training camps we had a great basis for that.”
https://www.espn.com/soccer/uefa-womens-european-championship/story/4699345/euro-2022-with-germanys-big-win-over-spainestablished-powerhouses-are-running-the-show With Germany’s big win over Spain, established powerhouses are running the show