After beating South Africa in their opening game, Spain required a perfect performance in the FIFA Women’s World Cup to beat or draw against Germany, and they produced one – almost.
They fell just short of perfection because, despite being more direct and aggressive in attack, and bettering their performance against South Africa, they just couldn’t convert their chances.
That lack of accuracy cost them and it is something they’ll need to address ahead of facing China on 17 June.
After the match, Spain’s coach Jorge Vilda said: ‘I think at least we’ve shown what Spain can do on the pitch. We were playing good football, but mistakes cost us dearly agains this strong side.We have to have patience.’
‘We gave everything to beat the second-best team in the world,’ he added. ‘We were able to dominate them in certain parts of the match. Obviously we weren’t able to put the cherry on top of the cake by getting a goal but – apart from one error that we were penalised for – we were able to bring that style of play.’
Germany brushed off the absence of injured star player Dzsenifer Marozsan as Sara Daebritz downed Spain to move her side top of their group B.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Daebritz made Germany strong favourites to top the group by pouncing three minutes before the break ahead of dithering Spain defender Marta Torrejon, who only had to clear the ball after her goalkeeper Sandra Panos did well to save Alexandra Popp‘s header.
Germany are three points clear of Spain and are one better on goal difference, meaning they need a point against bottom side South Africa on Monday to be completely sure of coming out on top.
That would leave whoever finished second below them to face the USA, who were in ominous form on Tuesday as they racked up a record 13-0 win over Thailand, while the Germans would take on one of the four best third-placed finishers who will make the last 16.
Second-placed Spain, who were wasteful despite dominating possession and will rue Nahikari Garcia somehow slicing wide when clean through in the 14th minute, should still qualify but face a trickier test against China on Monday.
They risk being caught by the Chinese or South Africa, who aim to boost their own qualification hopes on Thursday in Paris after losing their opening games.