Captain Nadine Angerer was Germany's shootout heroine as they booked a semi-final spot at Canada 2015, after an enthralling 120 minutes against France in Montreal had finished 1-1. Louisa Necib's goal looked set to hand Philippe Bergeroo's side a second consecutive FIFA Women's World Cup™ semi-final in normal time, but Celia Sasic's late spot-kick sent the game to extra-time and, ultimately, penalties. After nine had been successfully converted, Angerer saved 20-year-old substitute Claire Lavogez's effort before celebrating with gusto.
France were swiftly out of the blocks, and Necib could have opened the scoring in the opening seconds. Wonderful wing play by Elodie Thomis created an opportunity for the No14, but she fired wide of Angerer's right-hand post.
Despite France being in the ascendancy for most of the first half, both sides traded chances. Sasic and Marie Laure Delie both nodded the ball over the crossbar, before Leonie Maier and Amandine Henry had speculative efforts from distance, to no avail. Necib then went close once more, bringing the ball under control in the German penalty area before rifling a snap-shot at Angerer, who was equal to the effort and tipped it round the post.
Germany doubtless had stern words from Silvia Neid ringing in their ears as they came out much more positively for the second period. First Sasic from open play, then substitute Dzsenifer Marozsan from a free-kick, looked to take advantage of a brief spell of *Frauen-Nationalmannschaft *dominance, but Sarah Bouhaddi was equal to both strikes.
It was Necib, France's brightest player by far, who eventually broke the deadlock, albeit with some inadvertent assistance from the German defence. Babett Peter's headed clearance from a long Jessica Houara ball fell straight to France's No14 and, in trying to atone for her error, Peter could only deflect Necib's effort past Angerer to give Les Bleues the lead.
There was to be late drama though, with Amel Majri adjudged to have handled Maier's left-footed cross in the French penalty area in the closing stages. Sasic stepped up and, despite the enormous pressure on her shoulders, calmly sent Bouhaddi the wrong way by slotting the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.
Extra-time was a tense and terse affair, with substitute Gaetane Thiney wasting a glorious late chance to put her side into the last four, her miss meaning the drama would go all the way to a shootout, which the Germans won.
The two-time champions are now one step away from a fifth Women's World Cup final, with their potential opponents USA and China PR facing off in Ottawa later.