Friday 12 August 2016, 21:54

Behringer brilliance sees Germany through

Germany progressed to the semi-finals of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament with a tight 1-0 win against China PR in Salvador which required a moment of brilliance from Melanie Behringer to seal the tie, with Wang Shuang missing a late penalty which would have sent the tie to extra time.

The match was a far cry from the only previous meeting at the Olympics, in which the Germans demolished the Chinese 8-0 at Athens 2004. Bruno Bini's side set up with a strong defensive structure, and their European opponents struggled to find a way through.

Leonie Maier, Dzsenifer Marozsan and Alexandra Popp all went close in a tight first half, but the Chinese defence and Zhao Lina all worked hard to keep Silvia Neid's side at bay.

In the second half, the trend of the first continued with Germany pressing and China resisting, remaining steadfast. Enter Behringer. The German No7 took advantage of a bouncing ball to lash a superb strike from 25 yards past the despairing Lina, who stood little chance in the Chinese goal.

The Germans then looked to take advantage of their lead, attempting to maintain possession and control the rest of the game, but a lapse in concentration allowed the Chinese a reprieve. Maier felled Shuang in the penalty area, and Kateryna Monzul pointed to the spot.

Shuang hit her strike firmly, sending Almuth Schult the wrong way, but the ball rebounded back off the right-hand post, and away to safety for the Germans, with Neid breathing a sigh of relief.

The Germans saw the game through without further incident or defensive mishap, and they will face either Canada or France in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.