Goalkeeper Silke Rottenberg's last match for Germany ended with a seventh straight Group 4 victory in front of 20,000 spectators at the sold-out Auestadion in Kassel. Rottenberg celebrated a fond farewell with qualification for UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ in Finland already assured and she also managed to keep a clean sheet on her 126th appearance.
Germany, who will bid for a fifth straight title next summer, set the tone of the match when Fatmire Bajramaj came close to scoring from distance after just six minutes but, three minutes later, Ariane Hingst did open their account after an assist from Birgit Prinz. The creator of the opener squandered a chance to double the lead before 1. FFC Frankfurt team-mate Conny Pohlers did so only three minutes after Hingst's strike. Germany passed up several other promising opportunities but did extend their lead with half an hour played when Annike Krahn was quickest to react to make it 3-0 from close range following a Prinz free-kick.
After the interval it was still Germany in command but the Welsh defending proved more solid and, with high temperatures also affecting the players, there were fewer chances. Twelve minutes from time, though, substitute Melanie Behringer converted a free-kick to complete the scoring. A couple of minutes later, Rottenberg was substituted for Nadine Angerer prompting the applause of the crowd. "I am pleased," said Germany coach Silvia Neid. "We were agile, we tried and we ran a lot. Of course, I am not pleased with the many sloppy passes in the second half."
Before starting their preparations for the finals in Finland next summer, Germany's attention will turn to the Olympic women's football tournament in China starting on 6 August. The world champions face a FIFA Women's World Cup final rematch against Brazil followed by Group F fixtures against Nigeria and Korea DPR as the two-time bronze-medallists attempt to win the one major honour that has so far proved elusive. Their training camp begins on 26 June with friendlies to follow against England on 17 July and fellow Olympic hopefuls Norway six days later.
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