Germany 1-2 Colombia: Caicedo stunner sends Colombia on the path to victory

In the final game of Matchday Two, Germany faced Colombia in Sydney – with the winner set to all but guarantee their participation in the round-of-sixteen. Germany recorded a 6-0 thrashing of Morocco in their opening match, with Colombia stunning South Korea to take home three points in that fixture.

GER: Frohms; Hagel, Doorsoun, Hendrich, Huth; Däbritz, Oberdorf; Bühl, Magull, Brand; Popp

COL: Pérez; Vanessa, D Árias, Carabalí, C Arias; Montoya, Bedoya; Caicedo, Esme, Andrade; Ramirez

The German support was frankly outnumbered by the travelling Colombian support within the Sydney Football Stadium, as a sea of yellow engaged in seemingly unrelenting song to motivate their side – who headed into this match as underdogs. Their support looked to translate into on-pitch success, with Colombia winning an early corner, though Ramirez’s header was sent wide of the woodwork.

It was clear from the get-go that Popp would be fiercely marked by the Colombian defence, with Arias giving the forward a rather hefty nudge off the ball to ensure she was aware of her presence. As expected after their abandoned friendly against the Republic of Ireland, the South American side certainly weren’t afraid of a little physicality.

Yet the Germans looked set to find a breakthrough, and the all important opener, with just over twenty minutes played. Having been played through on goal by Oberdorf, Magull mistimed her effort – failing to make connection with the ball as a golden opportunity went begging.

Germany were simply not being granted chance to settle. As they looked to find their rhythm, a slightly over-enthusiastic challenge would come in from the Colombians – whose game plan was seemingly to disrupt Germany’s flow.

Mere minutes before the interval, Germany had their best chance of the half. Magull’s attempted ball into the box took a deflection off the Colombian defence, falling straight to the feet of Popp – but her volley was sent skywards in an uncharacteristic miss for the VfL Wolfsburg forward.

Yet it was Colombia that took a somewhat surprising lead after the break, as Linda Caicedo netted her second of the tournament thus far to catapult the South Americans into the lead. A simply stunning strike saw Vanegas’ effort from distance blocked – though the rebound fell to the feet of the youngster, who jinked past the defender to find the smallest gap in the German backline before hurtling an effort straight into the far top corner.

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At just eighteen years of age, Caicedo’s rise to the top has been something straight out of a fairytale. Having made her debut for the national team at just fourteen years old, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a year later – but a move to Real Madrid, and her return to las Cafeteras, has been simply superb as she continues to establish herself as one of the most promising talents in world football.

Germany began to grow desperate, attempting shots from long-range – though nothing seemed to pay off for Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side. Popp misplaced another effort as the game headed into the final half-hour, nodding a header to the left of the woodwork following a cross from Hegel.

The drama in Sydney was far from over though, as the Germans were awarded a late penalty following Pérez’s reckless challenge on Oberdorf. The ‘keeper swiped the midfielder’s legs from underneath her, providing Popp with a chance to level the match from the penalty spot – and that’s precisely what she did, thundering an effort straight down the middle of Pérez’s goal.

Still, one final opportunity in the dying seconds of injury time provided Colombia with a golden opportunity to restore their lead – and Vanegas clinched it with both hands. Leicy Santos’ delivery from a corner was met beautifully by the left-back, who rose highest in the area to nod past Frohms, sending the travelling Colombian contingent into a moment of sheer euphoria.

Colombia sit at the top of Group H ahead of the final matchday, with Germany and Morocco tied on three points. As things stand, it’s Germany that occupy the final qualification spot due to their superior goal difference – but all four teams are still able to qualify.

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