Germany is first up in group B, and they are only one of the most successful women’s football teams of all time. The Germans have previously won the World Cup twice (and is the only team to date to win the titles consecutively), they’ve won eight European Championships (out of 12) – six of these consecutively between 1995 and 2013, as well as Olympic gold in 2016. During these years, the side has contained some of the most successful female footballers throughout history, like Silvia Neid (an institution in German football), Célia Šašić, goal machine Birgit Prinz, and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, who have both won the prestigious award FIFA World Player of the year (equivalent of Ballon d’Or), Prinz won it three times and Angerer became the first goalkeeper – male or female – to win it.
Nonetheless, Germany had to show a bit of fighting spirit to get on the road to the World Cup in France 2019. They lost their first ever World Cup qualifier at home, with Iceland beating the Germans 3-2, at one point of the game being 3-1 up. This meant that they were behind Iceland in the group and direct qualification to the tournament looked much trickier. But they then went on to not concede in their following five qualification games, and with results going their way as well, it was enough to grab that sweet top spot and qualify for the World Cup.
The team is full of outstanding players who are doing well for their respective clubs as well as in the national team, with captain Dzsenifer Marozsán leading the way. The talented playmaker and goalscorer has been struggling with injuries and illness for the past year but is still considered a pivotal asset to the team, with a great first touch and accurate crossing. Lea Schüller is only 21 years old but has already proven that she’s a force to be reckoned with, for example scoring all four goals in Germany’s win over the Czech Republic in the qualification round. Alexandra Popp, Linda Dallman, Sara Däbritz, Sara Doorsoun-Khajeh, Svenja Huth, Giulia Gwinn and Lena Gößling are other names worthy of keeping in mind. Almuth Schult got to step up as the starting goalkeeper at the 2016 Summer Olympics, in which Germany won gold and Schult got to play every minute, and it looks likely that she will keep being the first choice for the time being.
As is evident, this is quite a talented team with great depth in the squad. Throughout the qualification phase the team was led by interim coach Horst Hrubesch, but starting this year it is Martina Voss-Tecklenburg who will take over the reins. The German previously coached the Switzerland women’s national team, which she led to first-time appearances at both the Women’s World Cup and the Women’s European Championship. It is yet unclear what kind of style Voss-Tecklenburg will attempt to play, but during the qualification phase, interim coach Hrubesch was inclined to line the team up in a tradition 4-4-2 or the occasional 3-5-2 with modifications. During Voss-Tecklenburg’s time as the Switzerland coach, she played a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1 formation to get the best out of the players that she had at the time, but it remains to be seen whether she’ll stick with a sort of 4-4-2 formation for the German side.
As of yet, there are not a lot of upcoming games in Germany’s calendar. They will not be participating in the upcoming cup in Cyprus, but they have a friendly game against France scheduled on the 28th of February, which will be a huge game. They will then take on Sweden (another big game, reliving the 2016 Olympics final) on the 6th of April, and thereafter it is Nadeshiko Japan that is the opposition, on the 9th of April.
The German team is looking very strong, and it will be exciting to see if they can live up to the expectations at the tournament in France. A lot of people think this is the team to beat – what are your thoughts on the matter? Fire up the comment section below!