Lina Magull will not be short on confidence when she packs her bags in August ahead of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. And given the 19-year-old Germany U-20 international recently helped VfL Wolfsburg win the UEFA Champions League at club level, it is hardly surprising.
A partial tear of an ankle ligament prevented the midfielder from taking part in the thrilling final against Swedish outfit Tyreso, but Magull looks set to win her fitness battle in time for this summer’s tournament in Canada.
“It’s actually looking pretty good,” she said in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com. “Once I’ve got rid of the crutches, it shouldn’t be too long before I’m allowed back on the pitch. I’m sure I’ll be fit in time for the World Cup.”
In fact, Magull can hardly wait for the tournament to get underway. “The sense of anticipation has been building since the last U-20 World Cup,” she enthused. “You’re constantly working towards it, trying to keep fit and give your all for your club, but the excitement has been building all year. It’s a unique experience. You travel to all sorts of different countries. It’s great to experience the atmosphere in all the stadiums and to play for such a prestigious title with the team.”
Celebrating with Japan fans
When it comes to experience at the U-20 World Cup, Magull is practically a veteran. She was part of the squad at the 2012 tournament in Japan and in their second group game against Ghana, she scored the goal that sealed Germany’s place in the quarter-finals. The memory of that match will stay with Magull forever, and nor she is likely to forget the semi-final clash against their hosts from the Land of the Rising Sun in a hurry.
“The stadium was almost sold out,” she reminisced. “We won 3-0 and the Japanese fans all celebrated with us, even though their team had just lost. It was nice that they were able to share our joy and didn’t begrudge us our victory.”
There was to be no such celebration in the final, which Germany narrowly lost 1-0 to the USA. The Germans have a chance to gain revenge in August, when the two nations face each other in their Group B opener in Edmonton. Magull is under no illusions as to the importance of that particular clash, but she is relishing the prospect of facing the current champions.
An exciting summer
“They’re one of the best teams in the world,” she said. “It’s great to pit our wits against them and to see what level we’re at as a team. Of course we’d prefer not to play teams of that calibre in the group phase, but we haven’t got a problem with it.
“Technically the Americans are very strong, but I’m not so sure we can compete with them on a tactical level,” she added. “Individually they all add something different, but they’re such a solid unit as a team. Everyone fights for each other and you can see that on the pitch.”
Games against Brazil and China PR also lie in store for Maren Meinert’s team, but rather than focus on Germany’s remaining Group B opponents, Magull preferred to sign off by wishing the men’s national side all the best for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil.
“That’s always something to look forward to,” she said. “There’ll be plenty of good games, so it’s unlikely to be a boring summer. I’ll try and watch all the matches if I can.
"I was a bit surprised when Joachim Low named his preliminary squad, but I think it’s great he’s given so many young players a chance to prove themselves at such a major tournament. I’m curious as to what his final squad will be. Germany are one of the best teams and will definitely reach the latter stages of the tournament.”