Germany have beaten Russia 2-0 to finish top of Group B and advance to the quarterfinals of the Women's Euro. Yet again, Germany failed to score from open play but got the goals they needed from the penalty spot.
Russia 0 – 2 Germany
(Peter 10' pen., Marozsan 56' pen.)
Stadion Galgenwaard, Utrecht
Head coach Steffi Jones' women got the result they were looking for in Utrecht on Tuesday night, a 2-0 win over Russia, which saw them finish top of Group B and advance to the quarterfinals of the Women's Euro in the Netherlands.
However, to say they did what they really set out to do might be overstating things slightly, as once again the German women failed to score a goal from open play - something they were also unable to accomplish in their previous two matches.
Against Russia, arguably their weakest opponent in the group, Germany had hoped to get their offense going, but like the Italy game, they wound up with nothing to show for all of their attempts on goal (29, according to UEFA statistics) and 11 shots on target.
Germany also dominated possession, having had the ball at their feet 71 percent of the time. And while they used their possession to generate a plethora of attempts, many of these were from distance and few truly troubled Russian goalkeeper Tatyana Shcherbak, who was solid throughout, but rarely had to be spectacular.
Having heard all of the criticism back home for their lack of offense, the Germans came out of the dressing room full of purpose, and after just 70 seconds, the ball was in back of the Russian net. It was to no avail, as the referee called it back for offside.
However, that same Mandy Islacker who had been the victim of the lineswoman's flag was the one who drew the penalty that would give Germany the lead - after a Russian defender had wrestled her into temporary submission in the box. Defender Babett Peter stepped up to the spot and put it low to the Russian keeper's right to make it 1-0 for Germany after 10 minutes. Shcherbak went the right way and actually got a hand to it, but the shot was just too powerful and well-placed for her to make the save.
Germany continued to dominate and threatened 20 minutes later when Peter's header off a corner forced Shcherbak into her best save of the night, as she pushed it onto the woodwork. Ten minutes later, Sara Däbritz could have perhaps made more of a Lena Goessling through ball into the area, but she missed the target from what admittedly was not the easiest of angles.
To start the second half, coach Jones took off Islacker and brought on the very mobile Hasret Kayicki, who would repeatedly cause the Russian back line trouble for the rest of the match - without finding the back of the net.
Germany's insurance goal also game on a penalty - this time drawn by Sara Däbritz. And this time it was the freshly crowned German women's player of the year, and the captain, Dzsenifer Marozsan who would beat Shcherbak to make it a 2-0 final score.
'Who scores the goals isn't important'
Speaking on ZDF public television moments after the match, coach Jones conceded that yet again her team had let far too many chances go begging - but having just won the group, she was in no mood to criticize her charges.
"We saw a very good match with a lot of combination play," she said. "We're in the quarterfinals and who scores the goals isn't important to me."
Having finished top of Group B, Germany now go on to face the second-place finishers in Group A, Denmark, in their semifinal, to be played in Rotterdam on Saturday.
You can re-read our play-by-play coverage of Russia vs. Germany below.