The Germans who had huffed and puffed their way against Canada and Nigeria finally showed their class in the much anticipated final group encounter against Les Bleus. Sylvia Nied opted to open with Ilka Grings and Fatmire Bajmaraj. It was Kristin Garefrekes who got them on the frontfoot with her header with Grings following suit to put Germany two up.
After the half the French fought back with Marie-Laure Delie rising up near post to meet a corner to cut the lead down. But 10 minutes later came the turning point as Berengere Sapowicz, the French goalie scythed down Bajmaraj after she was sprung free by Grings. The Finnish referee Kirsi Heikkinen had no hesitation sending off Sapowicz and pointing to the spot. Up stepped Grings and she made no mistake against Sapowicz's replacement Celine Deville. 3-1 up and a win but certain.
Their opponents were not done yet however as Laura Georges again exposed Germany's weakness on set pieces with her thumping header. But towards the end fatigue set in and they failed to clear a cross which fell to Celia Okoyino Da Mbabi who swung it into goal.
So far Birgit Prinz has been a non-factor and it remains to be seen whether Nied will turn to her to pull a rabbit out of the hat if required. So far Germany have done well with their deep bench. But now comes the knock out stage with the competition getting tougher and Prinz's experience might prove attractive.