Home Canadian Soccer While Canada loses its opener, Germans send a message to U20WWC field

While Canada loses its opener, Germans send a message to U20WWC field

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Theresa Panfil
Theresa Panfil
After seeing the Germans and Americans square off in the Group B opener at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, I can tell Canadian fans this much. Now that Canada has lost its opener (1-0 to Ghana at BMO Field), the best it can realistically hope for out of Group A is to scrap its way into second place. And that will mean, unless the world turns topsy-turvy, Canada would face the Germans.

Gulp.

After an incident-filled first half which saw both teams miss golden chances, the Germans simply dominated the Americans in the second half. The score was 2-0, but it could have been — should have been — 4-2 or 6-3.

But, even if some great chances weren’t converted, there is no denying the Germans weren’t worth a two-goal margin in this tournament’s group of death, which also includes Brazil and China.

“I don’t say it very often, especially to my team, but I am very proud of them,” German coach Maren Meinert said through a translator after the match. “They gave everything and, regardless of the outcome, it was a very good game. They played as a team.”

“Regardless of the group, it was important to present ourselves as a team, the way we prepared. Even though, on paper, we have the most difficult group, every group can present its challenges. It was important to get off to a good start.”

The Americans had two great chances to go ahead early, both coming from Lindsey Horan. But, on the first attempt, after a fantastic run down the wing from Mallory Pugh, Horan put a shot right at German keeper Meike Kaemper. On her second attempt, she headed the ball off a set piece into the turf that bounded over the goal.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Pauline Bremer had two chances to put the Germans up; on one occasion, she drilled it right at keeper Katelyn Rowland. On the second, Rowland got caught out of the net and Bremer’s header was cleared off the line, off the post and out by American defender Katie Naughton.

But, in the second half, the Germans established their passing game, dominating the middle of the park. Meanwhile, the Americans tried to pound long balls up the wings in order to use their size and speed. But that’s the thing about soccer. If you’re tactically aware, you can mitigate the physical advantages of your opponent.

Somehow, Germany let the Americans off the hook when Lina Magull struck the post from point-blank range after the ball was spilled by the keeper. But you knew the goal was coming. All of the pressure, all of the possession, was coming from the Germans.

Finally, Lena Petermann went through on goal, and rocketed a shot off the underside of the bar and in.

Late in the match, Theresa Panfil, voted the player of the match, found the inside corner with her effort.

As a Canadian supporter, you can look at this tournament in two ways. You can see that they need to elevate their game so they can try and get results over Finland and North Korea and escape Group A. Or, you can see it as I do; that Canada needs to utterly transform itself so it can actually compete with the likes of a Germany in the knockout stage.

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2 Comments

  1. Mike

    August 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Interested in the attendance. Does this draws higher or lower than a FCE game?

    Reply

    • Steven Sandor

      August 6, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      They didn’t announce attendance until well into the Brazil-China game, but it was announced at over 10,000. Very solid, IMO. In my opinion, 5,000 for matches not involving Canada would have been a success. But I have to say that Edmonton’s Chinese community came out big time to support the Chinese team and really pushed the number.

      Reply

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