Battered but unbowed. A properly decimated Germany squad — fielding only nine substitutes to France's twelve after injuries, COVID — squared off against France on Friday in a friendly test match for next summer's 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Two goals just on either side of half-time from the undeniable Alexandra Popp secured Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side a decisive 2-1 victory in Dresden that was a reprise of the scoreline from the European Championship Semi-Final matchup between these two nations in July. Popp scored two goals on that occasion as well — and likewise one in each half.
Highlights from the game below:
The first came on a corner in the 44th minute from Felicitas Rauch — Popp barreling forward, a defender draped all over her, but she would not be contained.
The second came just after the break. VfL Wolfsburg attacker Jule Brand was a half-time substitute for Bayern Munich winger Klara Bühl, and she pulled the strings for a wonderful team goal — collecting in traffic, driving centrally through the French midfield, and releasing her club teammate Svenja Huth with a perfectly-timed pass down the right wing. Huth played it flat and low across goal, and there was Popp again — the fox in the box, arriving far post with impeccable timing.
It was a Wolfsburg trio — and Rauch’s corner delivery meant the reigning German champions could claim all the direct involvement on goals for the day.
The only blemish from the test came late on, when a back pass from right-back Nicole Anyomi was laid just a little too casually for her keeper — who fouled a would-be French interception and conceded a penalty. Still, it was a test the Germans passed with composure on the day — they look very much the imposing team that made it to the EURO Final this summer and should be one of the major players in Australia.
Regular right-back Giulia Gwinn of FC Bayern recently suffered an ACL tear — sobering news that should put injury and load management practices in women’s football in focus, given the recent run of such devastating injuries. The team made sure to give a shout-out to their sidelined squad-mate:
WIR #IMTEAM für Giuli ❤️— DFB-Frauen (@DFB_Frauen) October 7, 2022
#GERFRA | Getty Images pic.twitter.com/XwX8qqjQns
Elsewhere, European champions England put on an overpowering display in their 2-1 win over the USWNT. Bayern’s Georgia Stanway featured, this time wearing the #8 (she had worn #10 at the Euros this summer.) Our SBN site Stars and Stripes FC have their game thread on it below:
It’s shaping up to be a fantastic year of international football — and a Women’s World Cup for the ages in 2023.