Germany have had their ups and downs at UEFA Women's EURO 2013, yet midfielder Lena Goessling is confident her side can prevail on Wednesday against hosts Sweden in Gothenburg.
Having been held by the Netherlands and beaten by Norway in the group stage, Germany got their bid for a sixth straight title back on track with a hard-fought 1-0 quarter-final defeat of Italy in Vaxjo on Monday. Goessling, who staked her claim for a starting berth by helping VfL Wolfsburg win the UEFA Women's Champions League two months ago, says confidence has been boosted.
"Ahead of the game everybody asked, what would happen if we bowed out of the tournament, but now the biggest pressure is off our shoulders and everything is possible," said the 27-year-old. "We gained new confidence and there is much more pressure on Sweden now than on us."
Goessling knows what she is talking about, having experienced two years ago what it means to play in front of a home crowd at the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany. The hosts succumbed to Japan in the last eight and expectations were a huge burden on the players' shoulders.
It is different now. "Everybody expects Sweden to win now," she said." They played a great tournament so far and were more consistent than Germany and are slight favourites, we are the underdogs and I enjoy this role."
However, based on past results, Germany are short odds on – having beaten their opponents on home soil in the 1997 semi-final, plus the deciders of UEFA Women's EURO 2001 and the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, not to mention the 2004 Olympic bronze medal encounter and 2008 quarter-finals.
"I am looking forward to the game, to a sold-out crowd and a crowd where the vast majority will be against us," said Goessling who expects a open game. Most of our opponents played quite defensively. But against Sweden we will get more space, that should help us. It was the same in our pre-tournament friendly against Japan [a 4-2 win] and why shouldn't it be the same against Sweden?"
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