Join us on this journey as we dish out the inside scoop on each squad's strengths, weaknesses, players to keep an eye on and what a pass mark might be for each nation.
Next up, we look at Group H team and world number two, Germany.
FIFA Women's World Cup Appearances: 8 (1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019)
Best performance at a FIFA Women's World Cup: Champions (2003, 2007)
Players to watch
One of the longest tenured players in German international football and fifth on their all-time leading scorers list is the captain, Alexandra Popp. The two-time German national Footballer of the Year has bagged 61 goals in 127 appearances for one of the titans of world football. Popp's goal scoring has not waned either in recent years as she scored eight goals in 13 appearances in 2022 which saw Germany finish runners up in Euro 2022.
Having a forward that's as prolific as Popp will certainly play to the strengths of the German side as they look to get back to the top of world football.
Another player that's worth keeping an eye on this tournament is Popp's young teammate at Wolfsberg, Lena Oberdorf. The 21-year-old holding midfielder has already bagged 37 international caps at senior level and possesses a level of control that is the envy of midfielders across the world. Able to function in multiple roles and positions, it's Oberdorf's versatility that really sets her apart as a difference maker in the midfield. An indefatigable talent in the 'engine room' of the team is one which will always hold a crucial role at the highest level of the game.
Then another player who many predict could fill the shoes of Popp when she eventually steps away from the game is Klara Bühl. The Bayern Munich forward has represented Germany since U15s and now at national level, she's seen many successes everywhere she's gone. One of the newer style forwards who's able to play up front of on the wing, Bühl presents a threat whenever she has the ball in the opponent's half and is set to cause headaches for all defenders she takes on.
There has not been much to go by so far this year with a win, a draw and a loss in three friendlies this year for the German national side. The defeat was to 2007 runners-up Brazil who Germany have quite a history with in international football and they could possibly meet again in the knockout stages. If that does turn out to be the case, the question needs to be asked as to who the favourites are.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths: Goal scoring. Few teams, if any, are quite as prolific in front of goal as this Germany team. With quality forwards like Popp and Bühl as well as the prolific Lea Schüller and Laura Freigang, Germany has no shortage of top-quality goal scorers who often overwhelm oppositions, seen in its 7-1 quarter-final victory over Russia in 2019. Goals win games and it's very possible that even if the team don't make it to the finals, Germany will finish as top scorers.
Weaknesses: Inexperience further back. As far as defenders and goalkeepers who may come along to Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup goes, there's only one defender and one goalkeeper who have made more than 50 appearances at the international level. While it's never necessarily a tangible aspect of the game, experienced players provide a mentality and professionalism that can steady a team in difficult times. When there's not enough experience in key positions, sometimes it can prove very challenging for a team to rally when they get into a difficult spot. This of course may well be mitigated by the lack of difficult spots Germany may find themselves in but it's a factor that's worth mentioning.
This year, it needs to be at least third place for Germany if the team is to consider this tournament a success. The last two World Cups ended in disappointment for DFB-Frauen and they want to become the power they were back when they won consecutive World Cups in 2003 and 2007. With this current group of talent, it's possible that the team could go all the way, but of course there's much fierce competition to face along the way.
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