As her side prepare to take on France in their second Group B outing of UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™, Germany coach Silvia Neid has revealed she will consider remixing her winning formula.
A comprehensive 4-0 victory in their opening match against Norway got the holders' defence off to a perfect start, while France also beat Iceland 3-1, meaning whoever wins this match will guarantee a quarter-final berth, and quite probably first place. However, as Neid is aware, "technically strong" France are entirely different opposition − Les Bleues are among the very few nations who can boast two victories from their last three meetings with Germany. Furthermore, Neid believes France could be every bit as awkward to overcome this time around, admitting: "Actually, we probably prefer playing against more robust teams where we can use our physical strength."
With such a specification in mind, Neid must decide whether to stick with the starting XI that dealt with 2005 finalists Norway so competently. Her triple substitution against Bjarne Berntsen's team – drafting in Célia Okoyino da Mbabi, Fatmire Bajramaj and Anja Mittag – proved inspired and any of those three could be given the nod on Matchday 2. Another attractive option comes in the form of Simone Laudehr, the defensive midfielder having overcome a knee ligament problem to challenge youngster Kim Kulig for a start. "The question is whether to change a successful team or not," Neid said.
"It's not only that, you always have to bear in mind that players need to recover," she added. "The game against Norway was very demanding. Simone is fit again and she could be an option, while the substitutes who came on showed me what great balance we have in the squad. We will have to work very hard against France and that freshness could be important."
France suffered two setbacks in quick succession in their 3-1 opening-night victory over Iceland, with key players Corine Franco and Candie Herbert leaving the field within three minutes of each other due to head injuries received in separate collisions. Should the duo be ruled out, France coach Bruno Bini has absolute faith in his reinforcements.
"We have two players injured, but we have 20 more who are fit so I can't complain too much," he said. "If I have to make changes I'm not concerned. When my entire squad is free from injuries, I have 22 starters – everyone can play. In every match, I have to leave eleven starters on the bench so, this time, it won't be so bad. My only big concern was for Candie's parents, in particular, when they saw those images of her [after suffering a deep cut above her brow] on TV."
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