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Goessling: Nerves took hold on EURO debut

Published: Friday 12 July 2013, 14.44CET
Despite possessing a wealth of experience and a treasure trove of trophies, Germany's Lena Goessling said nerves had triggered her unremarkable display against the Netherlands.
by Ian Holyman
from Vaxjo
Goessling: Nerves took hold on EURO debut
Lena Goessling knows Germany can - and must - improve ©Getty Images
 

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Published: Friday 12 July 2013, 14.44CET

Goessling: Nerves took hold on EURO debut

Despite possessing a wealth of experience and a treasure trove of trophies, Germany's Lena Goessling said nerves had triggered her unremarkable display against the Netherlands.

When the final whistle sounded at the Växjö Arena on Thursday, Lena Goessling sought out her boyfriend and father in the crowd to dissect the 90 minutes in which a prodigiously well-drilled Netherlands side had come close to handing the reigning European champions a surprise loss.

The criticism from her nearest and dearest came as little surprise to the VfL Wolfsburg player, who acknowledged her performance and that of her team in the goalless Group B draw fell well below their usual stratospheric standards.

"We made a lot of mistakes. I gave the ball away a lot, too. We have to put that right against Iceland. We have to move more and be more flexible in the way we play," she explained at the team's hotel. "We'll learn from what we did wrong. The only thing that counts now is that we win the next game. We have to retain our belief that we're a great team and that we can play better."

Given the impressive manner in which Silvia Neid's squad cantered into the tournament, there is little doubt her players have the potential to be significantly more fluid and clinical than they proved against the Dutch.

Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer was the sole member of the Germany side to emerge with credit as she made a fistful of saves to extend the title-holders' lung-bursting unbeaten run in UEFA European Women's Championship fixtures to 58 matches.

That the veteran should shine in front of a boisterous crowd of nearly 9,000 was perhaps not so surprising given Neid's line-up was dotted with players making their maiden appearance at this level. Among them was Goessling, who admitted that despite winning the treble last term, including the UEFA Women's Champions League, and having earned her 50th cap last month, the butterflies had taken hold.

"It was my first-ever European Championship game. I was more nervous than usual, because a tournament is something completely different. It was the same for a lot of the players," said the tall defensive midfielder, who pointed to the troubles host nation and fellow big-hitters Sweden endured in their opening game. "Everyone has seen how difficult the start of a European Championship is. But nothing major happened and we still have two games."

Before facing Norway in Kalmar next week, Germany will hope to get their previously unstoppable juggernaut moving again with victory against Iceland on Sunday. Despite her underwhelming display, Goessling's place in the starting XI appears assured. The same cannot be said of Wolfsburg team-mate Nadine Kessler, the other half of the defensive midfield duo in Neid's 4-2-3-1 at kick-off but substituted at the break.

Goessling hopes the pair will be given the chance to make amends. "Nadine and I know that we didn't have our best game as the defensive midfield pairing. We accept the criticism and will try to work more in harmony in the next game," she said.

Last updated: 12/07/13 23.04CET

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