Hosts Germany will learn their group opponents for next summer's FIFA Women's World Cup defence in Monday's draw and they will be the side everybody wants to avoid after beating recently-crowned African champions Nigeria 8-0 in Leverkusen today.
In front of 8,100 fans, Germany were four up within 19 minutes thanks to two Inka Grings goals and one each from Kerstin Garefrekes and Birgit Prinz, who made it five just before the break. After the break, Silvia Neid's side kept pushing and Alexandra Popp struck on 62 minutes before Garefrekes claimed two more for her hat-trick and Germany's biggest win since the 11-0 victory that began their 2007 World Cup triumph.
Neid, who deployed her strongest available side with only two half-time substitutions, said: "We put on a focused performance right from the start, and then Nigeria did not feel like playing any more.
In defence we played together outstandingly and had some nice moves in attack. The game leaves me optimistic." Prinz, who now has 128 goals in 208 internationals – both European records – added: "This was a nice ending to the year."
Barring a rare 4-0 loss in the United States in May, Germany have been in fine form this season, beating Canada 5-0 in Dresden in September and Australia 2-1 in Wolfsburg last month. "We had already taken the matches against Canada and Australia as seriously as we would have taken qualifiers," Neid said.
Captain Prinz and her 1. FFC Frankfurt team-mate Ariane Hingst recently hinted that they planned to end their international career after the World Cup in June and July next year, having both been part of the 2003 and 2007 triumphs and their domination of the UEFA European Women's Championship. But for now the focus is on Monday's draw and Germany's opener on 26 June at Berlin's Olympiastadion.
"You can already feel the pleasant expectation ahead of the World Cup," 33-year-old Prinz said. "
I am looking forward to playing in full stadiums during the World Cup. We want to be world champions. The public is expecting this from us anyway, but irrespective of that this is the goal we have defined for ourselves. We have enough confidence to set ourselves this goal."
Coach Neid, in charge since 2005, cannot wait to discover their opposition on Monday in the Frankfurt draw, for which the lineup will be decided on Saturday when Italy attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit to the United States in the second leg of the UEFA-CONCACAF play-off.
"I am excited and I am looking forward to it because the draw will give us a very concrete idea of what we need to do," said Neid. "We will know who we are up against in the group stage and which possible permutations there will be for the remainder of the tournament. We will research our opponents after the draw and analyse their players and matches. This is an important part of our preparations."
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