Germany 6-0 Morocco: Popp scores twice to kickstart dominant German performance

As two-time winners of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s Germany faced Morocco at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. With the Atlas Lionesses making their debut at the competition, a tough opening fixture against the world-renowned Frauenmannschaft would serve as an indicator of their potential.

GER: Frohms; Rauch, Doorsoun, Hendrich, Huth; Leupolz, Däbritz; Bühl, Magull, Brand; Popp

MAR: Er-Rmichi; Redouani, M’Rabet, Aït El Haj, Kassi; Tagnaout, Chebbak, Nakkach, Ouzraoui; Ayane, Lahmari

Germany were quick to establish their grasp on the game in the early stages, dictating the tempo and coming close to an opener within the first five minutes as Klara Bühl curled a free-kick wide of the far post. The Bayern Munich star was involved again mere moments later, driving through midfield as she sought to propel her team forwards – but M’Rabet provided a vital interception.

Yet it was a her mistake that led to Germany’s opener, with a loose pass falling straight to the feet of Hendrich. Having drifted out towards the right flank, the defender whipped a cross in towards the centre of the box – where it was met beautifully by Popp, who continued her fine goalscoring form with a bullet header past Er-Rmichi.

But Germany’s opener seemed to spark Morocco into life, with Ayane the focal point of their attack. Ouzraoui attempted to tee up the Tottenham Hotspur forward, though her header was underpowered – and Chebbak’s strike from distance on the rebound was saved well by Frohms.

Däbritz thought she had doubled Germany’s lead with an audacious chip over Er-Rmichi after being played through on goal by Magull. Her celebrations were cut short though, as the flag was duly raised for offside.

The second goal did come through – and it was courtesy of none other than Alexandra Popp. Another headed effort saw the VfL Wolfsburg striker double her personal tally, firing the DFB-Team into a rather comfortable two-goal lead at half-time, despite looking fragile defensively at times.

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And Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side were rewarded with another goal after their relentless pressure continued after the break, with Klara Bühl coming infield from a wide position to fire home after a frenzy inside the penalty area – just ten seconds into the second half. It looked as though the fourth would follow soon after, as an offside Däbritz let the ball roll through her legs for Bühl to run on to – but her effort clipped the post this time.

Morocco thought they’d finally found their first-ever goal at a FIFA Women’s World Cup, but the raucous celebrations were cut short as Lahmari was in an offside position as Chebbak played the pass. It was a lovely finish, and although it would have been merely a consolation, the disappointment was palpable amongst the Moroccan side as the flag was raised.

Matters turned from bad to worse for Morocco, as an own goal from Aït El Haj extended Germany’s advantage to a very comfortable four-goal margin. Huth attempted to whip a ball in towards the far post, but M’Rabet rose to nod it away from the leaping Magull. In doing so, her clearance hit the shin of Aït El Haj – ultimately trickling over the line as Morocco’s hopes of a debut World Cup upset lay in tatters.

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Germany refused to take their foot of the gas in the dying stages of the match, and were unlucky not to have added a further two goals in quick succession – with Er-Rmichi palming a second Aït El Haj deflection wide of the post just moments before Däbritz turned Popp’s corner delivery against the post.

Alexandra Popp thought she had completed a stunning hat-trick after a scramble inside the penalty area – but the strike was officially judged as an own goal as M’Rabet nodded the ball towards her own goal, with Redouani unable to keep it out. Popp rushed to the scene to slam it into the back of the net and bag her third of the match, though the ball had already fully crossed the line at that point.

Lea Schüller had the desired impact from the bench, firing home Germany’s sixth goal in the dying seconds of regulation time to seal the biggest victory of the tournament thus far. Er-Rmachi managed to palm away Lattwein’s initial error, but the ball fell to the feet of Schüller – who simply doesn’t miss from close range. The forward looked to have bagged her second mere minutes later, though a VAR review found that there was an offside offence and Germany would have to settle for six.

Group H action continues in the early hours of Tuesday, 25 July as Colombia face South Korea. Morocco will look to clinch a result against South Korea when they return to the pitch on Sunday, 30 July – while Germany will feel confident of a result against Colombia on the same day.

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