Coach Silvia Neid's women have beaten Italy 1-0 to face tournament hosts Sweden in the semifinals, seeking a sixth successive crown. Sweden steamrolled Iceland 4-0 in Sunday's other quarterfinal.
Midfielder Simone Laudehr scored what turned out to be the decisive goal 26 minutes into the quarterfinal against Italy in Vaxjo, Sweden, on Sunday evening. Germany held on to the one-goal lead, spurning an excellent late chance to put the result beyond doubt, to the final whistle.
"That was crazy, really strong stuff," Silvia Neid said on public television after her side's win. "We fought until we dropped against the savvy Italians. It was great, I'm hugely proud of the team."
The match in the Swedish summer sun was a hard-fought affair, with five Italians earning themselves yellow cards from the Hungarian referee.
Each player secured a bonus of 10,000 euros ($13,100) for reaching the final four of the competition, while under-fire coach Neid can enjoy something of a reprieve for this moderate success with a heavily depleted squad.
Hosts Sweden should prove tough opponents in the semifinals as Germany fight for their sixth European Championship in a row. The Swedes smashed Iceland 4-0 in Sunday's other quarterfinal.
"The Swedes have a really strong team, they are the absolute top favorites for the competition," Neid said. "Now our players need to recuperate quickly, after a really tough game today. But we are happy once again to count among the best four teams."
Despite five consecutive European championships, Germany's stranglehold on women's football has faded in recent years. Japan and the US faced each other in the finals of both the 2011 World Cup in Germany and the London 2012 Olympics, winning one tournament apiece. Germany failed to win their quarterfinal games in either competition.
msh/kms (dpa, SID)
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