The German footballers landed in Melbourne in drizzle, eleven degrees and gray clouds. After weeks of preparation for the World Cup, the cloudy weather at the first venue could not dampen the immense anticipation of Alexandra Popp and Co..
The DFB team is reaching for the third World Cup star in its history in Australia and is under pressure to play against Morocco this Monday (10.30 a.m. CEST/ZDF). The vice European champions go into the tournament as co-favourites, the title is the declared goal. National coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg is hoping above all for renewed euphoria about her now well-known players.
DFB women want to “emotionalize people”
“Like last year, actually like always, we want to take people with us, emotionalize them,” said the 55-year-old before the first group game at the final press conference on Sunday. “If we can give a little smile, if we can also present values (…), then we’re happy to do that.” Record ratings on television like at the EM 2022 are not to be expected in view of the games in the German morning time.
The dream of a third World Cup triumph after 2003 and 2007 lives on in the German team – despite some doubts after the disappointing friendlies against Vietnam (2:1) and Zambia (2:3) and personnel worries. “We know what quality we have. In the end it will be crucial to get them on the pitch,” said EM star Popp these days. A year after the successful tournament in England, the goalscorer also pointed out that the World Cup is a “completely different number”.
Concern about the DFB trio before the start of the World Cup
“Tomorrow we all have to know on the field that we are contesting a World Cup and what kind of responsibility that entails,” warned goalkeeper Merle Frohms before the final training session. Lena Oberdorf, Marina Hegering and Sjoeke Nüsken were also involved. Voss-Tecklenburg did not want to solve the guesswork about the ailing trio. “All I can say is that there will be all the players in the squad,” she said.
It is considered unlikely that defense chief Hegering will run up against the African World Cup debutants. The woman from Wolfsburg had only completed running sessions at the base camp in Wyong because of her bruised heel. Her possible deputy Nüsken was last on the lawn because of an outer ligament stretch with a bandaged knee.
There is a big question mark behind midfield clearer Oberdorf. The 21-year-old had not trained fully with the German team in the past few days after suffering a muscle injury in her thigh. Voss-Tecklenburg at least made it clear that she didn’t want to take any risks: “Anything else wouldn’t be smart. We want to play more than one game.” Chelsea professional Melanie Leupolz, the only mother in the team, could play for Oberdorf.
If nothing happens in the short term, Janina Minge will watch the Morocco game from the stands and then fly home as planned. The midfielder from SC Freiburg came to Australia as the 24th player with the 23-man squad because of the long journey. According to FIFA regulations, nominations can be made up to 24 hours before the first game if there is evidence of an injury or illness.
Morocco is followed by Colombia and South Korea
Voss-Tecklenburg expects a “tight game” against Morocco. When you see the start of this World Cup, exactly what we said applies: the whole world in women’s football has moved closer together.” After the start against the world number 72. will face Colombia in Sydney on July 30th and South Korea on July 3rd. Already in the round of 16, the DFB selection threatens a top-class player like Brazil or France.
Most recently, the German women had shone on the international stage with Olympic gold in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. At the 2019 World Cup in France, Voss-Tecklenburg had to be responsible for the quarterfinals against Sweden. After the World Cup defeat of the men’s national team in Qatar, the DFB has high hopes for the women. “Of course I would also be happy if our women could kiss the German football fans awake again this summer,” said Joti Chatzialexiou, Head of National Teams.