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'Hunted' Germany relaxed for Norway test

Germany may feel "hunted" at UEFA Women's EURO 2013, but coach Silvia Neid denies that expectations mean extra pressure heading into the final Group B game against Norway.

Silvia Neid's Germany and Norway have four points from two matches
Silvia Neid's Germany and Norway have four points from two matches ©Getty Images

With every nation wanting to topple Germany at UEFA Women's EURO 2013, Silvia Neid admits that her side feel "hunted", but denies that the expectations that come with being the holders impose extra pressure on her players as they compete with Norway for Group B first place.

Germany are guaranteed a quarter-final place, as are Norway, whose coach, Even Pellerud, fondly recalled his many encounters with opponents he described as "formidable".

• Both teams are guaranteed progress thanks to the third-placed team in Group A, Denmark, only having two points.

• Germany can only finish third if they lose and the Netherlands beat Iceland by enough to take second on goal difference or goals scored (if both finish level, Germany will be second due to their coefficient as per Article 8.05 of the official competition regulations).

• Norway can only finish third if they lose and Iceland beat the Netherlands by enough to take second on goal difference or goals scored (if both finish level, Norway will be second due to their coefficient as per Article 8.05 of the official competition regulations).

Silvia Neid, Germany coach
We don't feel pressure because of the expectations back home. As soon as we put on the shirt with the German eagle, everyone wants to beat us, to hunt us in a way, but the only pressure we feel is the expectations we put on ourselves. To my mind, the pressure that Sweden should be feeling is much bigger than what is on our shoulders.

We will make the decision on who comes in for Jennifer Cramer [suspended] tonight. It could be that Leonie Maier switches to the left and either Luisa Wensing or Bianca Schmidt comes in on the right. Both those players are very strong in one-on-one situations, both are fast and good in the air. They have their attacking qualities and both are fit.

We are facing a really strong team, especially their three forwards. Norway play 4-3-3 offensively and 4-5-1 when defending. They are very compact and strong, just like Iceland. We have to make sure we keep the ball on the ground and get into our combinations and get some power up front.

Of the games we have seen so far, France and Sweden are the favourites and Spain have also shown that they can produce a strong tournament.

Matchday one result
Germany 0-0 Netherlands

Matchday two result
Iceland 0-3 Germany (Lotzen 24, Okoyino Da Mbabi 55, 84)
Angerer, Bartusiak, Maier, Krahn, Kessler, Lotzen (Bajramaj 64), Marozsán (Mittag 74), Okoyino Da Mbabi, Cramer, Leupolz, Goessling (Laudehr 70). 

• Player of the match: Célia Okoyino da Mbabi

• Okoyino da Mbabi took her tournament tally, including qualifying, to a competition record 19.

• On a booking: Nadine Kessler, Leonie Maier

Team news
Cramer is suspended after two bookings, which is likely to mean a switch to left-back for Maier, with Wensing or Schmidt filling the right-back slot.

Even Pellerud, Norway coach
It's the last match in the group, but we hope it's not going to be our final one [in the tournament]. It's an important match against a very strong opponent. Germany have an impressive record in the European Championship over many, many years and have taken the upper hand in women's football in Europe. We are preparing to give them a good fight, although Germany will be favourites.

Whether in domestic football or when you are representing your country, you are always looking to beat the No1 team. I admire how Germany have been able to renew the team and produce new talents. Four points so far gives us healthy confidence to take them on. Germany are a formidable opponent and will be favourites, but we are preparing to give them a good fight.

No, Sylvia [Neid] did not send me a birthday card [Pellerud turned 60 on Monday] – I don't think she has been reading the Norwegian newspapers. I remember her very well as a player in the early 90s. She was a very steady, determined player for Germany and we have been coaching against each other for some years. It's nice to see the old rivalries resurfacing again, but history does not help us much tomorrow.

We cannot imagine a better place to stay than Kalmar. Even if you were looking for it, there is absolutely nothing to complain about. We are happy to stay here [for a possible quarter-final match] or we are happy to move on because I'm sure every venue is at the same level.

Matchday one result
Norway 1-1 Iceland (Hegland 26; M. Vidarsdóttir 87(pen)

Matchday two result
Norway 1-0 Netherlands (Gulbrandsen 54)
Hjelmseth, Christensen, Stensland, Akerhaugen, Mjelde, Rønning, Gulbrandsen (Dekkerhus 72), Hansen (Thorsnes 79), Hegland, Isaksen, Hegerberg (Bjånesøy 72).

• Player of the match: Marit Fiane Christensen

• Solveig Gulbrandsen, who came out of retirement and rejoined the squad this year, got the goal that ultimately ensured Norway's progress.

• On a booking: Marit Fiane Christensen

Team news
Apart from No2 goalkeeper Silje Vesterbekkmo, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament after straining a hamstring, Pellerud has a fully-fit squad.  

Match fact
Since the group stage was introduced in 1997, Norway and Germany have faced each other in every final tournament. In their seven meetings at the EURO finals Germany have won six, with the other drawn.

Did you know?
When the countries met in the 1991 final, Neid scored the clinching goal in a 3-1 victory for Germany. Pellerud, in his first spell with Norway, was in charge of the losing team.