Germany’s veteran goalkeeper and captain Nadine Angerer played a hero’s role in helping her country her country clinch the European Championship for the sixth successive time in Stockholm on Sunday.
She saved two penalties, one in each half to deny Norway victory, and in the second half German substitute Anja Mittag scored the only goal of the game, finishing off a fine passing move.
Norway piled on the pressure, seeking an an equalizer, but Germany defended valiantly. They have now won every tournament since 1993.
Angerer, 34, has played in the last five European Championship victories, having made her international debut as a 17-year-old in 1996.
The first penalty, in the 32nd minute, was controversial. After a free-kick wasn’t properly cleared by Germany, bodies and ankles clashed in the box with a Norwegian player going to ground – too easily according to angry German defenders.
Angerer’s save was brilliant. She went early on Trine Ronning’s kick, which was hammered down the middle, but the German keeper flung up her trailing leg, pushing the ball away in a tremendous piece of improvisation.
Nine minutes into the second half Germany took the lead on a fine bit of play. Three crisp passes cut through the Norwegian midfield setting Da Mbabi free. The striker squared to shoot, but instead turned and found the onrushing Mittag who allowed the ball to role across her body before sending it high past the Norwegian keeper. Mittag had been on the field for less then four minutes.
Nine minutes later Norway were given their second penalty when striker Hansen was brought down in the box. Up stepped Solveig Gulbrandsen. Again, the shot was hammered down the middle, a little higher this time. Angerer was going the wrong way, but was able to get an arm up to thump the ball away.
As Norway pressed, Ada Hegerberg had a strike correctly ruled out for offside before Kessler hit the post for the Germans in the closing stages.
Germany scored just six goals in six games in this tournament, coming to the event with a number of players unavailable through injury. But their success with this youthful squad bodes well for the future.