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It was hardly surprising long-serving Spain coach Ignacio Quereda called their 2-2 UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying draw with Germany "a landmark result" considering how long it had been since the continent's supreme force was last pegged back.
Since a 4-4 draw with Italy in November 1999, Germany had gone on a run of 38 UEFA European Women's Championship victories, including the three most recent of their five straight titles. That game in Isernia was also the most recent occasion that Germany dropped points in any qualifier, 36 matches in all.
Spain, who like Germany had a 100% record in Group 2 up until Thursday's game in Motril, were two down at half-time, but Verónica Boquete brilliantly pulled one back with 23 minutes to go and in added time Priscilla Borja set up fellow substitute Willy to equaliser. With the return in Germany to come on 31 March, Spain are three points clear and have a real chance of qualifying for only the second time, having made the 1997 semi-finals, when Quareda was already nine years into his long reign.
"This is a landmark result for us and allows us to go into our next game – which is against Germany again – challenging for first place in the group," said Quareda. "It's also a great honour that in a qualification game, our team has managed to bring Germany's winning run to an end.
"Above all though, I am very proud of my players who not only knew how to stand up to their opponents but also managed to come back from being [2-0] behind. The key to tonight for us was pushing the lines forward which was when we began to win in terms of anticipating what they would do while also creating more danger."
The result brings an end to a year for Germany that begun with much hope ahead of the home FIFA Women's World Cup, but has ended with this rare slip having already lost their global title in the quarter-finals to Japan, meaning they will not compete in next summer's Olympics.
"This match is proof just how much women's football has developed," coach Sivia Neid said. "Spain are a technically gifted team who are also capable of giving everything they have for 90 minutes. They never let go against us, they have made the best out of their opportunities and were rewarded for that late in the game.
"The competition at the top is getting stronger, which makes competitions more exciting. Our expectations for ourselves are still very high. We want to be among the top teams in the world. But we have not had a bad year, out of 13 matches we won 11, drew one and lost one – unfortunately it was the wrong one."
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