Germany have won their sixth consecutive women's European Championship after a 1-0 victory over Norway. Goalkeeper and captain Nadine Angerer was the hero of the match, saving two penalties.
Substitute Anja Mittag's 49th minute goal proved to be the decider on Sunday at the Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden. But the real story of match was a play by Angerer, who stopped a pair of penalties on the way to keeping a clean sheet against a challenging Norwegian side.
It looked like Norway, seeking their first European title since 1993, would pull ahead first when Celiio Okoyino da Mbabi brought down Cathrine Dekkerhus on the edge of the box just before the half hour mark. Trine Bjerke Rönning stepped up to take the spot kick, but her effort was blocked by Angerer, and it remained 0-0 going into halftime.
Moments after the restart it was Mittag who gave Germany the lead. After a barrage of pressure from the Norwegian attack, the Germans managed to break away with a counterattack. Da Mbabi raced down the left wing before crossing to Mittag in the center of the box. The striker sent a low, side-footed finish past goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth to make it 1-0.
Frustration for Norway
About 10 minutes later Norway looked like they'd been given a second lifeline when Caroline Graham Hansen went down in the box. Referee Cristina Dorcioman whistled for a penalty kick, and Solveig Gulbrandsen was the taker. But once again, Angerer saved the shot.
The frustration continued for Norway. In the 65th minute what looked like the equalizing goal off a counterattack was ruled offside. The Norwegian players protested, but replays showed Dorcioman made the correct call.
In the end, Angerer and the rest of the German team managed to survive the remaining 25 minutes plus extra time. The victory gives Germany their sixth-consecutive European title, and eighth overall.
Coach Silvia Neid had only kind words for her side's historic achievement after the match.
"I am very, very satisfied and proud of this team," she told broadcaster ARD. "At the moment it's definitely very, very special."
Praise was rightly directed towards Angerer, who has now won her fifth European Championship to go along with her two World Cups.
"Nadine has played on a really high level the whole tournament," Neid said.