Germany have won seven UEFA European Women's Championships and two FIFA Women's World Cups – and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer has been part of their squad for no fewer than six of those triumphs.
Back-up for Silke Rottenberg during the continental victories in 1997, 2001 and 2005, as well as the 2003 Women's World Cup, Angerer took over for the 2007 global event in China and did not concede a goal. She then wore the gloves for Germany's fifth straight European success of 2009, and the 34-year-old goalkeeper – newly signed by Brisbane Roar from 1. FFC Frankfurt – has now captained Germany to yet another final. With her team preparing to meet Norway in Solna on Sunday, she spoke to UEFA.com about her team's chances, the squad's spirit and the performances of the goalkeepers in this tournament.
UEFA.com: Germany are bidding for a sixth consecutive European title. What makes Germany so strong?
Nadine Angerer: Everyone knows we are a 'Turniermannschaft' (tournament team). We knew before that we have huge potential, but we really had some problems at the beginning. But it's fantastic how this team has fought their way into this tournament and how overwhelming are their will to win and courage.
UEFA.com: The young players in your team earned a lot of attention recently and it seemed like the experienced players were almost forgotten. How big of a factor was experience in the semi-final?
Angerer: It is not about old or young. We are one team and age doesn't matter; it is all about performance. We worked together extremely well in the semi-final and already in the quarter-final. The experienced players helped to bring structure; the younger ones have left their mark too and immediately accepted the challenge. It was great teamwork.
UEFA.com: Was the semi-final the most intense UEFA Women's EURO game ever?
Angerer: It was just incredible. I could feel the energy on the pitch and I felt like I was in a tennis game when the ball went up and down all the time. It was a really intense fight in terms of dynamism and power, one of the most intensive games. After four or five minutes I was looking at the clock and I couldn't believe we had only played five minutes, because there was so much intensity in the game.
UEFA.com: How did you feel when the referee blew the final whistle?
Angerer: It was fantastic. I was looking at the clock again ten minutes before the end of the game and I felt there might still be 13 or 14 minutes to go; I said to myself that we will stand firm until the end. Each player fought like hell and when the game was over, I still had so much power that I could have run around the stadium ten times.
UEFA.com: Where does this special Germany strength come from to peak in a tournament?
Angerer: We have a winners' mentality, we want to win and we are hungry. We didn't invest so much to bow out in the quarter-finals or even the group stage. You want to reap what you have sown. We knew about our potential, we fought hard and finally got the reward.
UEFA.com: You were injured in 2012 and there were ups and downs. How did you manage to get yourself back to top form again for the tournament?
Angerer: I never had any doubts. I am fit again now, but it was the first time in my career that I'd had an injury and I had to learn to deal with it. But I have a coach who fully trusts in me. That's important and I've trained a lot and got the reward.
UEFA.com: There was a lot of talking about team spirit and you are even wearing a wrist band labelled 'Laganda 008', the Swedish word for team spirit and the number eight for what could be an eighth title. Has that slogan come to life during the tournament?
Angerer: Absolutely and it shows how cool our team actually is. Even the players who haven't been in the starting lineup have done a lot for the team. It's incredible. Melanie Behringer, Laura Benkarth, Almuth Schult and other players too have tried hard and helped the team. You cannot win a tournament if there is envy and bad feelings.
UEFA.com: How do you rate the goalkeeping quality in this tournament?
Angerer: In the past, goalkeepers deserved to be criticised. But in this tournament the goalkeepers have really surprised me. Their performances have been much better than in previous tournaments and you can see that goalkeeping is developing. There is still room for improvement, but it has already become much better.
UEFA.com: You play Norway again in the final, a team you lost to at the end of the group stage. How do you rate them?
Angerer: They are incredibly defensive but very physical, and they have smart players like [Ingvild] Stensland or [Solveig] Gulbrandsen. [Ingrid] Hjelmseth is a very good goalkeeper. We have a similar way of goalkeeping and teams with a good goalkeeper have an advantage. It will be important for us to break through and score quickly so that they have to open their game. It will be 50-50.
UEFA.com: How much of an achievement would it be to win this tournament for a sixth consecutive time?
Angerer: If we win, it would be phenomenal and incredible, but we haven't won anything yet. We have a chance to win as we are good enough, but we shouldn't forget that we're an inexperienced side, so anything is possible.
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