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Tough clash expected as Germany face impressive France

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Tough clash expected as Germany face impressive France
Elodie Thomis of France celebrates during 4-0 defeat of Canada. Photo: DPA
09:15 CEST+02:00
Germany will be looking to flex their muscles and demonstrate their title credentials when they take on France in their final women's World Cup group game on Tuesday.

Both sides are already through to the quarter-finals with six points after two games so the clash between the European rivals will be one for Group A supremacy in front of a sell-out crowd of about 50,000 spectators.

Despite being two-time champions and favourites, Germany have proved less impressive than the French so far, and were briefly whistled by the crowd as they struggled to subdue Nigeria 1-0 in Frankfurt.

France brutally routed Canada 4-0 after beating Nigeria 1-0 in their first game and are top of the table on goal difference from the Germans who also beat the United States 2-1.

The match will also decide who France and Germany play in the next round: Japan, who are already qualified, or possibly England or Mexico depending on which of those teams qualifies.

Japan meet England in Augsburg on Tuesday with the English needing just a point to qualify ahead of Mexico who take on already-eliminated New Zealand in Sinsheim.

"We are in the quarter-finals, but without the pomp and circumstance," said Germany coach Silvia Neid. "Our passing wasn't very good against Nigeria, we gave too many balls away to green shirts and we need to improve, particularly on our decision making.

"For me, the players were very self-conscious in the last game, not as relaxed as normal and seemed weighed down to me. The pressure to reach the quarter-finals was considerable. Every opponent is giving 170 percent against us, because we are the reigning world champions.

"But we have to accept that and so we'll continue in our role as the favourites.

"I saw the first-half of the France-Canada game and I thought they played

very, very well.

"They are strong in the tackle and have some good combinations, they are very committed and technically very savy."

France coach Bruno Bini said his side will not be putting any pressure on themselves and dismissed his side, who are competing in the tournament for just the second time were now among the new favourites.

"You don't go in one match from outsider, or even losers to being number one favourites for the World Cup," he said.

"Germany are number one. They've won everything. They are reigning champions in everything apart from the Champions League," said Bini whose side includes several members of the Lyon team that won that title this year.

"In any case we're not going to approach this match as if we had just three points I can tell you. We're under no pressure.

"We mustn't lose sight of our goal which is not to beat Germany but to win our quarter-final."

AFP/djw

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