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Today the German team is also one of the last to enter the 2023 World Cup. After narrowly missing the European Cup title in 2022, the German women’s team are among the top favourites.
The opponents in Group H, into which the German team was drawn, have not so far left any major impact on international football. Nevertheless, Morocco, Colombia and South Korea will certainly do everything they can to trip up the Germans, who are so used to winning.
Morocco on an upward trend
For the Moroccan national team, Germany’s first opponent, it’s their first time in a World Cup. Even in continental tournaments like the Africa Cup, the team coached by Reynald Pedros, who achieved a string of notable successes with the players of Olympique Lyon, has rarely been convincing in the past and has yet to win a title. Nevertheless, the Moroccan team should not be underestimated, for it is clearly on an upward trend. In the 2022 Africa Cup, they were only stopped in the final. In the preceding semi-final, more than 45,000 thrilled spectators in the Moroccan capital Rabat saw a match against Nigeria that left nothing to be desired in terms of excitement. In the end, it was the Moroccans who held their nerve in the penalty shoot-out. The development plan of the Moroccan Women’s Football Association that was decided in 2018 appears to be bearing fruit. Besides a series of decentralised measures and consistent nurturing of new talent, the financial support for the first and second league associations is binding.
Colombia still waiting for major success
Group opponent number two on 30 July is Colombia, a team that stands out less for its technical finesse than for its passion and a lot of heart and soul. Of the 105 matches played by the Colombians so far, they won 49, drew 18 and lost 38. A brief look back: In their very first game in 1998, the Colombian women beat their opponents from neighbouring Venezula 4-1. On 20 June 2010, the team managed to win a game against a team from Europe for the first time, beating Wales 3-1 in a friendly. The Colombians have so far taken part in the preliminary rounds of the World Cup twice, but without any notable success. In 2011, they had to leave Germany after the preliminary round, but in 2015 they reached the round of sixteen in Canada.
Fourth World Cup finals for the South Koreans
On 3 August, the German national team will play South Korea. The team has a British coach – Colin Bell, who in his active time as a player took to the pitch for Mainz 05, amongst others, and also completed his first coaching jobs in Germany – and is currently ranked 17th in the FIFA world rankings. With the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the fourth finals are on the programme of the South Korean women’s national team. Their best placing was eight years when they were eliminated in the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen. In the current squad, Colin Bell has appointed a series of young players but is also banking on experienced top performers like Kim Jung-mi, who has already played in goal for the national team 135 times and will celebrate her fortieth birthday next year. The two midfielders Cho So-hyun and Ji So-yun have even clocked up 144 games each with the national team.
Text: Martin Sulkowsky
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