After a spectacular strike in Germany's 3-1 win against Norway, Isabella Schmid is relishing the atmosphere, if not the heat, of the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship.
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After helping Germany get their UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship campaign off to a flying start with a spectacular opening goal against Norway, Isabella Schmid said she is relishing the pressure-cooker atmosphere in Italy – if not the searing temperatures. "I'm not too keen on the heat," she told UEFA.com. "But you have to deal with the stress. If you can't, you don't deserve to be here."
It has been a memorable season for the 18-year-old from the southern town of Wangen im Allgau, close to the Austrian border. After scoring at September's FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, she helped SC Freiburg win promotion from the 2 Bundesliga. At the heart of the midfield that qualified for this tournament in Italy, Schmid wasted no time reacquainting herself with a country she regularly visits on holiday, setting Germany on course for a 3-1 opening day win against Norway.
"At first I didn't realise it had gone in," said Schmid of the crashing 35-metre strike that cannoned in off the crossbar and goalkeeper Ane Fimreite, "but it was a great feeling when I saw that it had. I don't know why I decided to shoot from so far out but it just felt right so I just did it. Shooting is probably one of my stronger suits. I think it's about timing, it's instinctive. Fortunately I seem know when to shoot."
Though they had threatened little before going behind, Norway soon equalised before Germany edged ahead on the stroke of half-time through Lena Lotzen. After quelling a late Norwegian rally, Maren Meinert's charges sealed victory thanks to a last-gasp effort from Schmid's room-mate Anja Hegenauer.
"It was a hard match because Norway permanently pressed us and made life really difficult. I find it tougher playing against the more physical sides because it's harder to predict what they'll do. The conditions weren't easy either. I'm not too keen on the heat and it was sweltering out there, but we stuck at it and the right team won in the end."
Germany's next opponents Spain, who opened with a 1-1 against the Netherlands, will be a more technical proposition on Thursday. The onus might be on Ángel Vidal's side to earn their first Group B victory, and Schmid is not taking the U17 European champions lightly. "We're in a comfortable situation as group leaders but there are no guarantees we will win again so we'll have to fight and concentrate as hard as ever."
Germany also have a reputation to protect as one of the powerhouses of the women's game but Schmid, who bases her game on that of FC Bayern München's Bastian Schweinsteiger, says pressure comes with the territory. "I'm just enjoying it. I was a little nervous before the Norway game but it's really special to be here. I played in the U17 championship but the level here is much higher. I see the pressure as a challenge; you have to deal with it."