Johanna Elsig said she was "tired but happy" after helping Germany set up a final against Norway by beating Switzerland, and warns: "We came here to win the European Championship."
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Defender Johanna Elsig said she was "tired but happy" after helping Germany to a 3-1 semi-final victory over Switzerland. It sets up a UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship final meeting with Norway, a game she predicts will involve "a lot of fight".
While Germany's goalscorers Ramona Petzelberger, Eunice Beckmann and Lena Lotzen stole the limelight with the goals that took Germany through to their first final in four years, their rearguard also played impressively, reducing Switzerland to just two attempts on goal in Imola on Wednesday.
At the heart of that defence stood Elsig, as she has throughout these finals. She was as unruffled conversing in English with UEFA.com after the match as she had been marshalling Cora Canetta on it. "I am very tired, but happy we're though," said Germany's No4. "It was a tough match against Switzerland but we got through it and now I'm looking forward to playing Norway in the final, which will be another tough match."
Though Germany eventually ran out comfortable winners, coach Maren Meinart admitted that their wastefulness up front remained a concern. At the other end Elsig insists she was never overly troubled, even after Canetta equalised against the run of play with a wonderful shot from range.
"I wasn't too worried when they equalised because I know that we're a very good team," she insisted. "We proved against the Netherlands when we went a goal behind and recovered to win that we have the belief to battle back."
Elsig is a born winner. The 18-year-old captained Germany's Under-17s to European success in 2009, scoring a penalty in the final against Spain. She is under no illusions that beating Norway in the final will be as easy, however, even if Meinert's side already have, with a 3-1 group win against Jarl Torske's charges to their credit.
"It is nice to reach a final again but this one will be very different to the U17 final because although we had a good team against Spain, the standard of opposition at that level was not nearly as high as it is with the U19s. We know Norway are a difficult team to play and that the final will be a lot harder than the group game because, like us, they desperately want to win the European Championship. It will be a match with a lot of fight."
And just in case Norway had not got the message, she underscored the nature of Germany's intent with one last warning. "We have enjoyed the hospitality here, Romagna is a lovely region and the weather has been very warm but we have not come here to relax. We have come here to win the European Championship."