Whenever Sara Dabritz steps onto the field of play, opponents know that she is always a threat. With five strikes to her name so far, the 19-year-old is leading the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014's scoring chart and has a good chance of taking home the adidas Golden Boot.
What's more, Dabritz is known not only for her marksmanship but also for her flexibility, movement and skill on the ball, with her midfield mastery laying the foundations for successful moves time and again. The 2013 European champion spoke to FIFA.com about Germany's upcoming encounter with Canada, what makes this squad so special and staying cool in front of goal.
FIFA.com: You have already played at an U-17 Women’s World Cup and U-17 European Championship, and became a European champion with Germany’s senior side in 2013. What is so special about the U-20 Women’s World Cup?
Sara Dabritz: Many players make the step up to the senior team after featuring at the U-20 Women’s World Cup. One noticeable difference is that the tempo is another notch higher than at the U-17 tournament. There’s just a lot going on here, and it’s fun to be part of it.
Hosts Canada will provide a tough challenge in your next match. How well do you know your opponents, and how well prepared are you to face them?
We’ll use video footage to analyse Canada and then discuss our approach and our plans in as much detail as possible. We hope plenty of fans will come to the stadium; the fact that we’re playing the hosts adds a further edge to the match. All of that gives us fantastic motivation, and it’s great to be able to play in front of so many people.
It promises to be a captivating encounter. Are you excited about it?
Of course! We fought our way through the group stages well and now here we are in the quarter-final. This is what we were aiming for, so the anticipation is huge.
Does Germany’s World Cup win in Brazil this summer give you additional motivation?
It was certainly cool to see the men’s team become world champions; we cheered them on all the way. But now we’re at a completely different tournament and have our own games to concentrate on. We want to go as far as possible, of course, but first we’ve got a quarter-final to play.
What’s the secret of Germany’s success so far here in Canada? How would you describe the mentality within the team?
We’ve got incredible team spirit. We all get on extremely well both on and off the pitch, and you could see that in our matches against China and Brazil. Although we fell behind, we fought our way back into those games, which was just fantastic. This team’s motto is to never give up, support one another and help each other out. That’s what we’re all about.
Five goals in three games – that’s an impressive run. Has becoming Germany’s leading goalgetter surprised even you?
I’m certainly pleased to have scored so many goals as I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m much more pleased that we’ve performed so well as a team and managed to win our group.
You always seem so calm and collected in front of goal. Where does this serenity come from, and what goes through your mind in those moments?
If I think about whether I should aim for the top right or top left corner or lob the goalkeeper before I shoot, that’s when everything goes wrong and I miss. The best approach is not to think about it and just focus on the moment. There’s no special knack to it.
In which position do you feel most at home – central midfield or on the left wing?
I like playing both roles. I started out on the left and then moved to the holding midfield position, so they’re two places I really enjoy playing in. I like playing down the middle, and it’s great to be out on the wing too. Basically, I don’t mind as long as I’m playing somewhere – that’s the main thing.