So impressive were Meike Kamper’s saves during Germany’s opening match of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014, that by the end the USA strikers looked almost at their wits' ends. The Duisberg shot-stopper was always on hand when needed, bravely fending off every strike and playing a vital role in her team’s victory against the defending champions.

“It was a difficult game for us, so it was great to be able to do my bit,” the 20-year-old told FIFA.com after Germany’s Group B win. “The centre-backs were great, the whole team defended well and we kept things tight. That makes the goalkeeper’s job easier,” she continued.

Kamper was well aware before the match that their opponents would not be straightforward. “It’s always tough to play the USA, as they’re extremely athletic. We had to be patient as we knew it could take some time to break the deadlock. I think we did a good job.”

Petermann seizes her chance
While Kamper was keeping her goal intact at one end, Lena Petermann was posing a threat in the opposition penalty area. For all that, Maren Meinert had to wait until the 65th minute before her striker put Germany ahead to gave the coach a very special 41st birthday present.

“I didn’t settle well in the first period, but things improved after half-time. The goal was simply indescribable,” Petermann told FIFA.com. “I can’t explain the emotion I felt at that moment. Up to that point we’d been shooting low and she [USA goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland] blocked it every time. Just at the right moment I thought: ‘Let’s try pitching it up,’ and it worked.”

Matches against the Stars and Stripes have a special significance for the 20-year-old, who is currently studying in Florida. “My club team watched the game together in the USA. I’ve got German team-mates too, but I don’t think the Americans would have enjoyed it much. Hopefully they’re happy for me anyway,” the likeable UCF Knights player said with a laugh.

With China PR next on Germany’s agenda in Edmonton on Friday, the two players took a moment to look ahead to the second game. “We’re doing well, and a 2-0 win is a great start,” said Kamper. “I don’t think we need to change our approach for the next match.”

“We’ve got to continue exactly where we left off,” Petermann agreed. With a goalkeeper in top form and a striker hungry to score, Germany’s look well equipped to target a second successive victory on Friday.