By HUXLEY LOVAI
EUROPEAN powerhouses Germany and France face off in the last quarterfinal match today of the Under-20 Women’s World Cup at the Sir John Guise Stadium.
There is a mutual respect between the traditional rivals, with both coaches insisting there is little separating the teams.
At this level the sides have faced each other four times, with the Germans claiming victory on all occasions.
In this year’s edition, the Germans, who are the defending champions, were unbeaten in the group stage, claiming the maximum nine points from the three matches and topping Group D.
Germany scored a total of eight goals, while conceding only one.
The French, on the other hand, started their campaign with two draws in their first two matches.
France only secured their quarterfinal spot with a 2-0 victory over New Zealand in the final round of group matches, finishing second behind the US in group C.
German coach Maren Meinert said her side respected what the French were capable of and agreed the history between the two sides would ensure an exciting, yet complicated affair, at the Sir John Guise Stadium tonight. “If you make the quarterfinals of the World Cup, you are one of the best eight teams in the world, and we as a team will be ready to face any opponent,” Meinert said.
Commenting on their opponents, Meinert said: “We know them very well, and it’s always tough to play them because they’re technically solid and have a lot of speed.”
French coach Gilles Eyquem praised his players for coming through a tough group which contained the likes of the US, Ghana and a spirited New Zealand.
“Our group was very difficult, after our two drawn matches we knew we had to make changes to the team,” Eyquem said.
“The win against New Zealand created a good spirit in the team and we are prepared to face Germany.”
By HUXLEY LOVAI