London: Eight-times women’s European champions Germany cruised clinically into the Euro 2022 quarter-finals as Group B winners with a game to spare on Tuesday after beating Spain 2-0 at Brentford’s Community Stadium.
Spain, who had hoped for an historic first win over Germany, enjoyed far more of the ball but lacked the final touch against opponents who pressed hard and were quick to seize their chances.
Germany were gifted a goal in the third minute after a blunder by Spain goalkeeper Sandra Panos, whose attempted clearance went straight to Klara Buehl for her to slot home into the bottom corner.
Forward Lucia Garcia then had a chance to equalise in the 10th but, after going around keeper Merle Frohms, her shot went into the side netting.
Alexandra Popp, making her first start after striker Lea Schuller tested positive for COVID-19 the day before, doubled the tally for Germany in the 37th with a flicked header off a corner.
“We scored the two goals at the right moment which really helped us. If the game had been 0-0 for longer maybe it would have been a different game,” said Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg.
“If you win 2-0 against Spain, you didn’t do too much wrong.”
Frohms made a great fingertip save in the 71st from a Mariona Caldentay volley, her only big moment of the night, and Tabea Wassmuth had the ball in the back of the net in the 81st but was clearly offside.
While Spain had 70% of the possession, they managed only three shots on target to Germany’s two and the Germans did not miss as they ended their rivals’ 24 match unbeaten run.
“At this level, if you make two errors then you get punished for it,” said Spain coach Jorge Vilda, whose team started the tournament among the favourites.
Both sides had scored four in their opening group games and drew 1-1 on their last meeting in February in the Arnold Clark Cup at Middlesbrough’s Riverside stadium.
The defeat in front of a 16,000-strong crowd left Spain level on three points with Denmark, who beat Finland 1-0 earlier, but ahead on goal difference.
Spain and Denmark play each other on Saturday with Spain needing a point to set up a quarter-final with hosts England.