Germany vs. Brazil:
Two of the class countries when it comes to soccer so having them face off in the Group Stage is something exciting. This particular game was more important for Brazil as to even advance to the knockout stages they would have to defeat the Germans by 2 goals or more. While some may have thrown their hands up in surrender before they even began Brazil was confident enough in their game (despite underperforming in this tournament) to come out as the stronger side in the first 20 minutes of the game.
Germany, coached by Maren Meinert, is a very disciplined side. Always compact on defense, rarely making a mistake, never losing their shape and strong at every position. Everything looks easy for them. No flashy players, but everyone works hard and does their job. Steady as she goes for Germany. With their style of play they just wear teams down and that is what they did to Brazil.
Though Brazil had the flashier players and better control of the ball in the first part of the 1st half it was Germany that created the better scoring chances. Striker Pauline Bremer, who played a very strong game with her tireless running, had the first chance, but her toe poke went wide of the far post. Just over 12 minutes later Bremer once again was part of a German chance on goal. This time she was the passer as she took the ball down to the end line and deftly cut it back to Thereas Panfils. Panfils hit the ball first time and it was a strong shot that seemed destined for the far side until Brazilian keeper Leticia dove to her right and got one hand on the shot to keep the score 0-0.
These German chances led to a reawakening of the Brazilians and they turned on the offensive jets. Holding midfielder Gabi had two great chances to score for her nation, but her shots let herself and all of Brazil down. Those misses would come back to haunt the team in yellow, green and blue. Though their regret would come later in the game as they notched the game’s first goal.
In the 41st minute luck was on the Brazilian’s side as they got a goal that pretty much just bounced in off of Carol’s head. In one of the rare misplays by the Germans, Manjou Wilde failed at an attempted clearance of Camila’s cross glanced off Carol’s head and redirected past German keeper, Merle Frohms, and went in after hitting the far post.
Brazilian supporters must have really thought it was their day when Bremer was pulled down in injury time by Camila inside the penalty area earning a penalty shot for her team. The normally sure footed striker did beat Leticia only to see her side footed shot strike the right post and bounce harmlessly away.
Going into the half time break Brazil players must have just had the mind frame that this was their game they just had to score one more goal in the 2nd half to go through. Soccer once again proved itself to be a cruel game and instead of Brazil scoring the one goal they needed the Germans scored crushed the Brazilian spirit by scoring five 2nd half unanswered goals.
5! Yes, 5! Five goals in 45 minutes in soccer is a very rare thing. The biggest complaint people have against the game is the lack of goal scoring. Well, this game had plenty of that. For all their disciplined play this was the second game in which the Germans had scored 5 goals as they tied 5-5 against China in an earlier game.
German goals came pretty much at a regular clip every 14 minutes in the 2nd half. Bremer made up for her previous miss by scoring two at the 64th and 90th + 3 minutes. Both were similar in that she used her pace up the middle and then got around Leticia to score from what seemed to be slim angles. Topping her teammate was Sara Daebritz who notched 3 goals coming in the 50th, 78th and 90th + 1 minutes. Daebritz now has 5 goals in 3 games.
With the crushing of Brazilian hopes the Germans ended up atop the so-called Group of Death, Group B. That means they would play the 2nd placed team from Group A.
-On-Field Officials: Referee – Carol Anne Chenard (Canada)
Assistants – Marie Charbonneau (Canada) and Suzanne Morisset (Canada)
-Goals: 1st Half:
41st minute: Brazil – Carol
50th minute: Germany – Sara Daebritz
64th minute: Germany – Pauline Bremer
78th minute: Germany – Sara Daebritz
90th +1 minute: Germany – Sara Daebritz
90th + 3 minute: Germany – Pauline Bremer
-Shots on Goal: Germany – 10
Brazil – 6
-Corners: Germany – 4
Brazil – 5
-Player of the Game: Sara Daebritz – Germany
-Final Score: Germany – 5
Brazil – 1
Canada vs. North Korea
Another game that meant a lot. Canada, with their 1-1-0 record needed a win to go through to the knockout stages for the first time in a lot of years in this tournament. Going into the game, despite the fact that Canada had home field advantage, the highly organized and structured North Koreans were the favourites. The Canadian side, though I am sure they will never admit it, must have felt their chances of a victory greatly improved when North Korea’s star player Ri Un-Sim was left out of the starting 11. She did come on in the 2nd half as a substitute, but could not score the goal to knock the home side out.
This was the first time Montreal soccer fans had a chance to see the Canadian team play live as the first two games were in Toronto. Despite the fact that the just over 13,000 in attendance were spread out in the cavernous Olympic Stadium the fans were solidly behind their team and cheered them on throughout the fingernail biting 90 minutes.
The North Koreans won this tournament in 2006 and showed that they were the more complete side in the 1st half. Canada could really mount nothing in the offensive end while the North Koreans did create a couple of decent scoring chances. A left footed try on the right side of the penalty area by Choe Un-Hwa was their best. Canada was happy to get back into the locker room at half 0-0.
Throughout this tournament the Canadians have demonstrated themselves to be a 2nd half team. I don’t know if it is the pressure of playing in front of their fans or just a lack of international experience, but they never start strong. This was true in this game as well as they seemed like a different team in the 2nd half.
Their strong on the ball striker Nichelle Prince just had to get the ball over to the unmarked Valerie Sanderson for what was to be a sure goal into an empty net only to see her pass blocked by a North Korean defender. Not discouraged Canada continued to look for the goal that would send them on in the tournament.
In the 65th minute of the game Janine Beckie scored what I’m sure is the most important goal of her life so far. It all began with substitute and hometown girl Amandine Pierre-Louis streaking down the right hand side and playing the ball over to Prince. Using all her skill and strength, Prince shook off her marker and brought the ball down to the end line. A precise cross over to the far post to the unmarked Beckie, who made no mistake with a simple tap in from inside the 6 yard box and set the crowd off in an explosion of joy.
For Canadian fans the next 25 minutes dragged on and many a person went home with no fingernails, I’m sure. Though Canada seemed to be the team in control and just moved the ball around playing the possession game witling away the minutes and seconds. When the North Koreans did get the ball and try to mount an offensive surge the impressive Canadian defense, led by the solid play of central defender Kadeisha Buchanan, shut the door.
Both teams now advance to the quarterfinals with Canada having to play the seemingly indestructible Germans and North Korea facing off against the United States.
-On-Field Officials: Referee – Esther Staubli (Switzerland)
Assistants – Ella De Vries (Belgium) and Anna Nystrom (Sweden)
-Goals: 2nd half:
65th minute: Canada – Janine Beckie
-Shots on Goal: Canada – 3
North Korea – 6
-Corners: Canada – 0
North Korea – 6
-Player of the Game: Kadeisha Buchanan – Canada
-Final Score: Canada – 1
North Korea – 0