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Germany 1 (Sasic pen 84) France 1 (Necib 64)
Germany won 5-4 on penalties
Germany are through to the World Cup semi finals once again but only after being taken all the way to a penalty shootout by France in an enthralling tie in Montreal.
However the French will rue two bad misses during the course of the game and despite having the better of the play in a quarter final tie which lived up to its billing, they are now on their way home.
France went into the game on the back of two good performances and a confident start should really have brought them a goal in the first minute. Elodie Thomis broke down the right and sped away from the German defence before cutting the ball back for Louisa Necib who, despite a clear sight on goal, failed to hit the target from twelve yards.
France continued to press hard with the speedy Thomis causing a lot of problems, Germany reacting by swapping their full backs and marking her with Leonie Maier. Marie Laure Delie headed over the bar with Celia Sasic doing likewise at the other end, then Maier fired a shot from distance straight at Sarah Bouhaddi. France responded with a similar strike by Amandine Henry going off target and Necib bringing out a good save from Nadine Angerer, her firm strike being turned around the post.
After the break, Germany came out a different side, looking much sharper going forward. Dzensifer Marozsan tested Bouhaddi with a long range free kick but the keeper was up to the task, palming the ball away.
For all France's approach play, it was perhaps ironic that a more 'route one' move brought them the lead. Jessica Houara's long ball forward was only half headed away by a back pedalling Babett Peter and Necib took one touch before her shot took a deflection past Angerer for the opening goal.
It looked as though the Germans would be exiting the tournament at the quarter final stage for the second time in a row but it is never wise to back against them. They continued to push for an equaliser and with six minutes remaining, the chance came.
Sasic's pass found Maier on the edge of the area where she cut inside and sent in a left foot cross which hit the arm of Amel Majri. This was deemed by the referee to be deliberate handball a penalty was awarded. There was a lot of pressure on Sasic as she stepped up to take the kick but she did not show it, planting her shot into the corner of the net.
France tried to hit back with a late winner, Claire Lavogez breaking into the area but tried to win a penalty with an outrageous dive. Nothing was given but, unbelievably, the French striker was not yellow carded by the referee, who had had another dreadful match.
As is so often the case, extra time was a much cagier affair with fewer chances for both sides. Gaetane Thiney and Necib both had shots charged down whilst Majri hit the wall with a free kick, whilst Sara Dabritz sent a shot straight at Bouhaddi.
Three minutes from the end, France were unable to take a chance which would have won them the match. Houara exchanged pass with Henry on the edge of the area and her low cross picked out an unmarked Thiney at the far post but somehow the midfielder put her shot wide from point blank range.
The miss meant that the match would go to penalties and both sides showed excellent composure with some great finishes. Melanie Behringer, Simone Laudehr, Peter and Marozsan all scored for Germany, with France replying through Thiney, Abily, Necib and Wendie Renard. Sasic repeated her earlier kick to score and leave a nervous looking Lavogez needing to convert in order to go to sudden death. Angerer had gone the wrong way in the previous four kicks but this time she guessed right and the resulting save sparked wild German celebrations, whilst Lavogez was inconsolable.
France will reflect on not taking their chances after having taken the game to Germany but for Silvia Neid's side now have a World Cup semi final to look forward to.
Germany: Nadine Angerer, Leonie Maier, Tabea Kemme, Lena Goessling (sub Melanie Behringer 79mins), Annike Krahn, Babett Peter, Simone Laudehr, Melanie Leupolz, Celia Sasic, Alexandra Popp (sub Sara Dabritz 70mins), Anja Mittag (sub Dzsenifer Marozsan 45mins).
France: Sarah Bouhaddi, Jessica Houara, Amel Majri, Laura Georges, Wendie Renard, Amandine Henry, Elodie Thomis (sub Claire Lavogez 69mins), Marie Laure Delie (sub Kheira Hamraoui 101mins), Eugenie Le Sommer (sub Gaetane Thiney 90mins), Camille Abily, Louisa Necib.
Player of the match: Nadine Angerer.
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