Germany survived a second-half examination from the Netherlands in Volendam to hold on for a 1-0 victory which ensured the world champions ended 2007 both on a high and at the summit of UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ qualifying Group 4.
Pre-match talk from the Germany camp suggested the squad were tired following a long season and their recent exploits in China, where they successfully defended the FIFA Women's World Cup. Silvia Neid's team were slow out of the blocks, and a ninth-minute injury to Kerstin Stegemann did not help as she had to be replaced by Babette Peter.
The visitors were vulnerable but the Dutch did not take advantage and it was Germany who struck the first, and only, goal when Annike Krahn rose to head in a free-kick in the 36th minute. The Netherlands were much livelier after the interval and Syliva Smit fired a shot into the side-netting on 54 minutes. Manon Melis fizzed an effort from range just wide ten minutes later, although the best opening fell to Germany's Linda Bresonik who headed wide when unmarked close to goal.
This was Germany's least convincing victory in the section but they have a healthy eight-point lead over Switzerland, who have a game in hand, with just five games on the road to 2009 in Finland played. The Netherlands, in third, have four points from as many games. Both teams are next in qualifying action in 2008, the Oranje in Wales on 20 February and Germany in Belgium on 7 May.
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