Ger­many top France 5-4 to reach semis

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY JIMMY GOLEN

Ger­many coach Sil­via Neid needed five vol­un­teers for the shootout that could beat France and put the two-time Women’s World Cup cham­pi­ons into the semi­fi­nals. She got four. Some of her play­ers were look­ing down at their shoes. Oth­ers were on the bench, nurs­ing the wounds they picked up dur­ing 120 min­utes of phys­i­cal play on ar­ti­fi­cial turf that left France’s Kheira Ham­raoui on the side­line, her face soaked in blood, beg­ging to get back into the game.

Midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan, who had twisted an an­kle, said she would try.

“I don’t know how she did it, to walk up to the spot,” Neid re­called with amaze­ment. “I said, ‘Oh, my good­ness. If we have to con­tinue, some­body has to go.”’

All five Ger­mans con­verted, then Na­dine Angerer stopped Claire Lavo­gez on the fi­nal shootout at­tempt and Ger­many beat France 5-4 on penalty kicks af­ter a 1-1 tie Fri­day.

“France is an ex­tremely good team. We all saw it,” said Neid, whose team will play the United States in the semi­fi­nals on Tues­day.

“We had to play for 120 min­utes to­day, and we will have to rest. We have some in­jured play­ers,” she said. “But we are among the best four teams in the world, and maybe there is some more life left in us.”

Celia Sa­sic tied the score in the 84th minute, and Angerer stopped the one shootout at­tempt top-ranked Ger­many needed for its first World Cup win on penalty kicks. The 2003 and ‘07 cham­pi­ons have a chance to add another tro­phy af­ter their win over No. 3 France in a match that was seen as an “early fi­nal.”

Louisa Necib put France ahead in the 64th minute as Les Bleues con­trolled the first half and more. But Sa­sic scored the equal­izer — her tour­na­ment-lead­ing sixth goal — on a penalty kick af­ter a hand ball, and then con­verted in the shootout as well to give Ger­many the edge.

“I think our team has proven its char­ac­ter. Be­cause you have to flip that switch in the sec­ond half, and we did that ex­tremely well,” Neid said. “And then we had Na­dine Angerer, who can hold a penalty kick.”

The match re­mained

score- less un­til French de­fender Jes­sica Hourara lofted the ball in from mid­field to the penalty area, where Ger­many’s Ba­bett Peter was wait­ing. She headed it away from the goal but right to Necib, whose shot from just out­side the area was de­flected to the right of Angerer’s out­stretched hand and into the net.

Ger­many tried to re­spond with phys­i­cal play, and Lena Goessling and Dzsenifer Morozsan were given yel­low cards in the 68th minute. But it could not muster an at­tack un­til the 84th, af­ter Leonie Maier kicked the ball off de­fender Amel Ma­jri’s raised arm just in­side the penalty area.

Sa­sic booted the spot kick to Sarah Bouhaddi’s right when the keeper guessed left. The Ger­mans have been awarded 12 penalty kicks in World Cup play and con­verted them all.

And the Ger­mans made for 17 in the shootout.

With Ger­many shoot­ing first, Me­lanie Behringer, Si­mone Laudehr, Peter and Marozsan all con­verted kicks for the Ger­mans, and Gae­tane Thiney, Camille Abily, Necib and Wendie Re­nard tied the score for France.

Sa­sic put the Ger­mans back ahead and Lavo­gez, at 21 France’s third- youngest player,

it 17 ran up to the spot and kicked the ball to the Angerer’s left. The 2013 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year — the first goal­keeper, male or fe­male, to win the honor — dove and blocked the ball with her left knee, set­ting off a Ger­man cel­e­bra­tion in this French­s­peak­ing city.

“We sang a few songs; we were happy to have made it one match fur­ther,” Angerer said. “We didn’t go over­board. We weren’t danc­ing on the chairs or ta­bles. But, yes, we were happy. It was a very in­tense game, and I was ex­tremely elated along with the rest of the team.”

Ger­many will be back for a semi­fi­nal at Mon­treal’s Olympic Sta­dium, where the East Ger­man men won the 1976 gold medal.

France had its op­por­tu­ni­ties early, tak­ing 14 shots in the first half to five for Ger­many.

And it had them late, in­clud­ing a free kick in the 99th minute fol­low­ing a hand ball just out­side the 18- yard box. Amel Ma­jri kicked it straight into the de­fend­ing wall.

In the 117th minute, Gae­tane Thiney missed a wide-open net. Angerer thought that Thiney had been called off­side un­til Neid cor­rected her at the postgame news con­fer­ence.

“Oh,” the goal­keeper “then we were lucky.”

France qual­i­fied for the 2016 Olympics but fell short of match­ing its fourth-place fin­ish — its best

said, ever — in the 2011 World Cup.

“Ev­ery­one says, ‘ You had a great game. You are at the level of Ger­many,”’ France coach Philippe Berg­eroo said. “But we lost.”

“So what mat­ters is to learn, to learn that to dom­i­nate doesn’t mean that you’ll win. They need to learn what will al­low them to win games in the fu­ture.”

AP

Ger­many’s Si­mone Laudehr #6, Me­lanie Behringer #7, Ba­bett Peter #14 and Me­lanie Le­upolz #16 re­act af­ter de­feat­ing France in a shootout in a quar­ter­fi­nal match in the FIFA Women’s World Cup soc­cer tour­na­ment in Mon­treal, Que­bec on Fri­day, June 26.

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