Lina Magull's first-half goal and a canny Alexandra Popp finish sent Germany through to the semi-finals of UEFA Women's EURO 2022, with the scoreline masking Austria's tireless efforts.
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Lina Magull's first-half strike and an opportunistic Alexandra Popp finish settled an exhausting UEFA Women's EURO 2022 quarter-final in London in Germany's favour.
13' Georgieva heads against post for Austria
25' Magull guides in Germany's opener
46' Germany's Gwinn rattles woodwork with a low shot
53' Long-range Dunst strike rebounds off crossbar
57' Puntigam finds post again with powerful effort
79' Bühl hits crossbar for Germany
90' Popp steals in to get Germany's second
Match in brief: Fortune favours canny Germany
If eight-time European champions Germany went into the game as clear favourites, Austria were not overawed, snapping and snarling into every challenge and making trouble. Julia Hickelsberger-Füller drew a save from Merle Frohms, before busy defender Marina Georgieva headed against the post from Verena Hanshaw's corner.
Germany kept their composure and took a 25th-minute lead, Klara Bühl chasing down Carina Wenninger then pulling the ball back into the danger area. Popp dummied to invite Magull to place her shot low into the net, and when Giulia Gwinn struck the foot of the post seconds after the restart, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's side seemed to have Austria on the ropes.
They were far from beaten, though, Barbara Dunst finding the crossbar with a looping long-range shot that had Frohms beaten before Sarah Puntigam cracked another effort against the frame of the goal as Germany struggled to clear a corner.
Popp had a chance to ease the pressure with a headed chance on 66 minutes, while substitute Linda Dallmann fired over on the break. Austria kept fighting, and Germany kept giving them hope; Bühl sent skimmed the crossbar with a shot from distance and then missed the target with the goal gaping eight minutes from time.
However, there was no way back after Popp raced into the box to deflect goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger's attempted clearance into the Austrian net – and maintain her record of scoring in each of Germany's games at these finals, with at least one more to come in the last four next Wednesday.
Player of the Match: Klara Bühl (Germany)
"Germany had difficulty breaking through Austria's defensive block, but the player who found creative openings again and again was Bühl. She was always a threat when she got the ball around the penalty box and she gave team-mates options, as well as creating space between Austria's strong defenders to fashion chances of her own."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Anna-Sophia Vollmerhausen, Germany reporter
Germany had luck on their side tonight, which often makes the difference in tournament football. It wasn't their most dominant showing, and I expect they will find plenty of things to discuss tomorrow as they were unable to fully deliver on their game plan. However, they are through to the next round and will now need to gather every bit of strength they can to prepare for the semi-final, after being subjected to a tough encounter by Austria.
Judith Tuffentsammer, Austria reporter
Austria held their own for long stretches of the match, keeping pace with Germany defensively and creating at the other end. Luck, however, wasn’t on their side: Georgieva and Puntigam both hit the post while Dunst's long-range effort smacked against the bar. In the end, Germany were just as strong as Austria expected them to be, and Irene Fuhrmann's side were unable to make the most of the few chances they got. Nevertheless, they showed again what they are capable of, and bow out with heads held high.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, Germany coach: "We played against a very good side. Huge compliments to Austria. The game could have ended 6-3. We are happy that we won the match. We didn't want to concede so many set pieces but we did better in the second half. I still believe that we leave the pitch as deserved winners."
Lina Magull, Germany midfielder: "It was end to end for the whole 90 minutes. It was very intense. Compliments to Austria: they never stop fighting. It was just as well we took the lead in the first half. We were also a bit lucky because we gave them too many chances. We are incredibly happy and proud to have reached a semi-final again."
Alexandra Popp, Germany forward: "We deserved it and stuck to our task during Austria’s strong phases. We kept pushing forward and got our reward with the second goal."
Marina Hegering, Germany defender: "We're relieved and happy to have reached the semis. It was the first aim we had set for ourselves and now anything is possible. It was a very hard-fought game and also a very open game at times. We managed to score, however, and did well in our build-up play. We were a bit lucky at times when the woodwork helped us out but we managed to score the goals we needed."
Irene Fuhrmann, Austria coach: "It's a hard moment right after the game. When we look back, the team can feel very proud of how they have played, not just today but throughout the tournament. We demanded everything from Germany."
Barbara Dunst, Austria midfielder: "Of course we're disappointed. If we'd taken those chances, the match would have been a different one. They took their chances, we have to admit that. It's bitter – in the end, they’re through and we're not."
- Alexandra Popp has scored in Germany's last four Women's EURO finals games; the only other player to have struck in four consecutive EURO outings is her compatriot Heidi Mohr.
- Popp's finish leaves Germany on 99 all-time Women's EURO final tournament goals.
- Germany are the first team to have made it to a tenth Women's EURO semi-final.
- Austria's Sarah Zadrazil made her 100th appearance; Germany's Kathrin Hendrich celebrated her 50th.
- Germany have won all three of their international matches against Austria; prior to tonight, they had prevailed 4-2 (2016) and 3-1 (2018) against their neighbours in friendly games.
- Ominously for their next opponents, Germany have won all ten of their Women's EURO matches in England, scoring 30 goals and conceding just three.
- Yet to concede in this tournament, Germany have kept nine clean sheets in their last 11 Women's EURO finals matches.
Germany: Frohms; Gwinn, Hendrich, Hegering, Rauch (Kleinherne 90+4); Magull (Dallmann 64), Oberdorf, Däbritz (Lattwein 64); Huth (Lohmann 90+5), Popp, Bühl (Brand 83)
Austria: Zinsberger; Wienroither, Wenninger, Georgieva, Hanshaw; Puntigam (Höbinger 81); Hickelsberger-Füller (Naschenweng 72), Zadrazil, Feiersinger, Dunst; Billa (Makas 86)
What comes next?
Germany play France or the Netherlands in the second semi-final in Milton Keynes at 21:00 CET on Wednesday 27 July. The winners of that tie will be the nominal away side in the Sunday 31 July final at Wembley.