Few would argue that the host nation will be a fiercely tough team to beat, with Germany winning the last two FIFA Women's World Cups™ to impressively underline their dominant position in the world game. However, the downside is that anything far short of their previous tournament triumphs would represent a major letdown for the home crowd.
Continuity is the key to the world champions’ success. The spine of coach Silvia Neid's team has hardly changed in the past few years, with professionals such as goal-getter Birgit Prinz and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer boasting unmatched experience. However, thanks to the acknowledged excellence in bringing on young talent in German women's football, there is a promising blend of youth and maturity in Neid's physically strong and technically able squad.
“The squad is now built round players who were already there or thereabouts in China in 2007, and have become top-class performers in the period since then,” Renate Lingor exclusively told FIFA.com. Apart from striker Sandra Smisek, the former world-class playmaker is the only top German player to retire from women's football since the last FIFA Women's World Cup. Many factors speak in their favour, but the Germans, who qualify automatically for the final tournament as host nation, still know very well that reaching their goal yet again cannot be taken for granted.
The star players
Even on a global scale the German forward line is in a class of its own. Neid’s first-choice strikers are the 33-year-old Prinz, three-time FIFA World Player of the Year and unchallenged number one in terms of appearances and goals for her country, and Inka Grings. The latter, who is a year younger than Prinz, has been German Player of the Year for the last two years, and was leading scorer at the UEFA Women’s EURO in both 2005 and 2009. And no such list would be complete without Angerer, who played a significant role in retaining the trophy at China 2007 with a string of outstanding performances, and is now keen to confirm her world-class status in front of a home crowd.
Silvia Neid has long stepped out of the intimidating shadow of her predecessor Tina Theune, who handed over the role of national coach in 2005. Today, the former German international exudes assurance and is a confident, elegant and supportive presence on the touchline. She led Germany to victory on her debut as a coach at both the FIFA Women's World Cup and the Women’s EURO. Remarkably Neid has been directly involved either as a player, assistant coach or head coach in all seven of Germany’s Women's EURO triumphs.
Previous FIFA Women’s World Cups