After a somewhat disappointing start to the 2017 Women’s EURO in Monday’s scoreless draw against Sweden, defending champions Germany needed a victory in their second match in the tournament’s Group B against Italy on Friday.
They started positively and energetically from the kickoff. Nonetheless, despite the good beginning and the created chances, the Germans needed the help of Italian goalkeeper Laura Giuliani, in order to score the first goal.
The shot stopper let an unsuccessful cross by Dzsenifer Marozsan slide through her hands and Josephine Henning headed it in from there. 1-0 to Germany in the 19th minute.
The defending champions continued to move forward and to create more chances after taking the lead, but it was exactly that, which harmed them ten minutes later.
The Italians blocked a German attack and countered quickly, while the German outside-backs were still up-field. Barbara Bonansea found the open Ilaria Mauro, who then equalized, 1-1.
Mauro would go off injured in added time of the first half. Losing the dangerous striker proved to be only one of several unlucky instances in the match for Italy.
Mid-way through the second half, the referee somewhat controversially ruled that Anja Mittag had been fouled in the penalty area and Babett Peter easily converted the spot kick to give the Germans the 2-1 lead.
Minutes later, two other major problems arose for the Italians. First, Elisa Bartoli was sent off for a second yellow card. Then, Valentina Cernoia had to go off injured, like Mauro did before her.
Despite all of this, the Italian team was able to create some dangerous goal scoring chances, none of which went in, however and neither did Germany’s subsequent counterattacks.
Thus, the score remained 2-1 to the defending champions. That means that Germany is now second in the group behind Sweden on goal-difference and will simply need to avoid defeat against Russia on Tuesday, to advance. But they need to drastically improve if they want to defend their title this year again.