BERLIN, July 20 (Xinhua) — Ahead of the German women’s team’s last eight rounds, soccer icons such as Lothar Matthaeus and Bastian Schweinsteiger have joined the fan community.
Crossing swords with Austria at the European Championships 2022 in England on Thursday night seems to follow with a growing enthusiasm in the country.
2014 world champion Schweinsteiger predicts that the German team is ready to take this year’s title due to their tactical variety and passion.
1990 world champion Matthaeus demands “maximum attention” because “we saw a determined side in the first three games; I’m a big fan and have fun watching high – class matches. I’m flashy.
The eight-time European champion enters the neighbors’ match as favorites after keeping a clean shirt in the matches against Denmark, the tournament favorite Spain and Finland (13-0 goals).
Despite having to deal with a heat wave in Europe, the game comes close to the reunion of an old school class.
13 players in Austria’s squad play in the jersey of a German first division club apart from former Bayern artist Carinna Wenninger (Rome).
The 26-year-old Nicole Billa is said to be the Austrian team’s leading player. The former junior world champion in kickboxing is employed by TSG Hoffenheim women’s section.
The German team tried to survive the unusual heat by going on a bike ride. Only four players took part in the setup boots tour on the River Themes while the majority of the squad holed up in the team’s hotel.
While English newspapers talked about days “hotter than in the Sahara”, German media published a video showing the German team dancing in their locker room to the country and western song “Cotton Eye Joe”.
In the do-or-die question against the 2017 semi-finalist, Austria not only expects Martina Voss-Tecklenburg a competitive and very emotional duel at eye level.
The German coach can count on his strongest squad after several injured and suspended players return. The only doubtful case is Bayern striker Lea Schuller, who recovered from a covid-19 infection with a week spent in isolation.
Voss-Tecklenburg said she is confident that “nobody takes anything for granted in the knockout stages.”
The 54-year-old said she is confident of reaching the next round because “I am confident we will continue to give everything in the game as we did before.”
The winner of Germany and Austria will face the winner of France against the Netherlands in the semis. At the same time, host England will face Spain with Sweden waiting for Belgium in the last eight rounds.
The 2022 final takes place on July 31 at Wembley Stadium.