Nigeria vs. Germany
This Group A match sees powerhouse Germany come off a 2-1 victory over Canada face off against Nigeria at Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, Germany who were defeated 1-0 in their opening match at the hands of France.
Germany were fairly convincing in large portions of their opening match but failed to “kill the game” when they had the chance and gave Canada a life line in the last ten minutes of the match, conceding a fantastic free kick goal to Christine Sinclair and were actually up against in the final moments. German superstar and captain Birgit Prinz didn’t have her best match but teammates Kerstin Garefrekes and Célia Okoyino da Mbabi picked up the slack with not only their goals but also with their general positive play. However the strength of this team might be what they bring off the bench, especially in Forward Alexandra Popp. Playing the final thirty minutes of the match she showed how dangerous she could be with both the size and skill advantage she showed over the Canadian defense. It wouldn’t be surprising if Coach Silvia Neid started her along side the aforementioned Garefrekes to match the physicality of the Nigerians, but the main aspect the Germans need to show as they have many times in the past is the killer instinct to finish off an opponent.
As for Nigeria, their narrow 1-0 defeat to France more spoke to the their ineffectiveness when attacking then anything else. The only player that showed any threat was Desire Oparanozie, with star player Perpetua Nkwocha a complete non-factor. Their one advantage they have over most teams in this tournament is their physicality and endurance, but France proved that with a strong midfield combined with the extremely hot conditions the Africans could be worn down. Coach Ngozi Uche will need her team to finish the few chances they get and close up any gaps that are between the defensive midfield and the backline, the Germans are an experienced team that will use their size and soccer intelligence to exploit any spaces.
I expect the Germans to go from strength to strength in this match and think they learned a few things about themselves from their opening match. I’m going with the over in this one even with it being set at 3.5 instead of the customary 2.5, as I think the Germans are just that much better.