Germany and Spain collide as joint-leaders of their pool after beating respective Matchday 1 opponents China and South Africa. However, favourites Germany didn’t impress as expected in a slim 1-0 win over China and will be wary of the team that always looked to be their greatest threat to finishing first in the group.
Spain converted two penalties as they eased South Africa aside 3-1 in Le Havre, but they know they must win on Matchday 2 to stand a realistic chance of top of the order.
Germany are clear favourites to live up to their billing as one of the top tournament contenders, while La Roja go in search of an early upset in just their second World Cup finals appearance.
There’s little comparing these two teams in terms of World Cup pedigree considering Spain made their finals debut in Canada four years ago, while Die Nationalelf have competed in each of the seven previous contests.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s Germany looked rather rusty in their opening win over China, who came to France ranked 16th in the world. Spain sit three positions higher, and they’ve assembled a four-match unbeaten run in preparation to take on the world No. 2.
Germany haven’t lost a match since March 2018, winning 11 times and drawing twice since then. They’ve been dominant in that time, though Giulia Gwinn’s strike from outside the box was all that separated them from China, via Fox (U.S. only):
Voss-Tecklenburg didn’t sound convinced by the performance in her post-match comments:
These two teams met in November and played out a scoreless draw. However, it could be a key factor that Germany have played five matches to date since then, while Spain have played 11 times in the same window.
Jennifer Hermoso scored twice from the spot to nudge Spain past South Africa, clinching a World Cup first for her country in the process, per Squawka:
That result also happened to be Spain’s first victory at a Women’s World Cup finals after they drew once and lost twice in 2015.
Germany started their last World Cup with a win before drawing against Norway in their second group game, and Spain will hope for a repeat or better when they clash.