The German Defense: the deciding factor in the tension-packed faceoff between Germany and France

The first two goals in this game were the result of world-class dynamic play: neither side made any mistakes. The offense won out on the first two goals by inches.

Germany [1] – France [0]

The ball is played to where neither a German player or French player is. But Alexandra Popp races over and reaches out with her left foot and deftly places the ball past the top-notch keeper for France:

France equalizes just before the half ends

A ball comes free to Diani and she lines up a rocket which the goalie would’ve stopped but the shot was too fast and the ball grazed the inside of the post:

Now let’s talk about defense

Before we get to the final goal, let’s understand that the German side has conceded zero goals this entire tournament: you read that right ZERO. NADA. ZILCH. Against the top Europeans teams NO ONE HAD EVEN SCORED ALL THE WAY TO THE SEMIFINAL. And if you watched this game, you know why. The German defense has one goal when you get the ball:

If you touch the ball against us, I guarantee that you will feel body contact. We will bump you, we will kick your legs or your feet. But get ready for it, because it’s coming.

The German women’s football team

France was equally good on offense as Germany. But in the deciding goal, the difference in defensive mentality showed. The French player casually runs over, maintains social distance of 6 feet or more from the German wing player and then gives her 5 seconds to line up a cross into the box. Yes, it took skill to place the ball and yes the timing and height on Alexandra Popp’s leap to head the ball into the net would make Sam Kerr jealous.

But when all is said and done, the French defender gave the German player too much room:

I’m sorry number 10, but that is not world-class defense.

In summary, both sides had their chances. The best save of match came from the French goalkeeper. But the Germans were intentionally playing barely legal and illegal defense for the entire game with tremendous aggression and it paid off.

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