Soccer Football - Women's Euro 2022 - Group B - Germany v Spain - Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain - July 12, 2022 Germany's Alexandra Popp scores their second goal REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

They were in each other’s arms again, the victory tasted even better. The start of the German women at the European Championships in England against Denmark was furious. The second group game against the favored Spaniards on Tuesday was less spectacular but all the more impressive. After goals from Klara Bühl and Alexandra Popp, the team coached by Martina Voss-Tecklenburg won 2-0 (2-0) and is already in the quarter-finals.

The game had started slapstick. Spanish goalkeeper Sandra Panos played a pass straight into Bühl’s feet in the third minute. And the 21-year-old accepted the gift with a humorless shot in the corner.

The favored Spaniards were only briefly shocked by the faux pas. They quickly took control of the game and were mostly in possession of the ball. They didn’t forget to conjure up nice moves on the lawn from time to time.

Like in the 10th minute when Patri played a pass to Lucia Garcia. This rounded the German goalkeeper Merle Frohms and threw the ball to the side netting for no apparent reason. Even after that, the German women continued to have a hard time against their lively and technically highly gifted opponents.

After 18 minutes, the Spaniards were very close to equalizing again. Aitana shook a flick out of her foot at the corner of the box that just missed the German goal. The equalizer would have been well deserved after 20 minutes – and it was still the case after 37 minutes. But then a corner kick flew into the Spaniards’ penalty area and Popp headed in to make it 2-0. Germany didn’t play well, but they played effectively.

Immediately before the game, DFB director Oliver Bierhoff caused a stir in an ARD interview when he criticized Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). In a tweet on Tuesday, he called for equal pay for women and men in football. “I’m a bit surprised by the statement. I’d like to invite him over. Then I’ll explain the numbers to him a little better,” Bierhoff said on ARD.

In any case, the German game in the evening was good advertising for women’s football. After the restart, it was lively. It was only a few seconds played when Popp came rushing in again after a corner kick and just missed the target.

As in the first game against Denmark, Popp’s performance had a special touch. She was only in the starting eleven on Tuesday because Lea Schüller could not be there because of a positive corona test. And Popp, 115 times national player, came up trumps, did a lot of running work, secured a lot of balls and was extremely dangerous.

Otherwise, national coach Voss-Tecklenburg was able to call up the same starting eleven as in the 4-0 win at the start of the tournament. But in contrast to the game against Denmark, the German team reacted more than they acted.

But even that made it excellent. Against a self-sacrificing German team, the Spaniards could think of less and less as the game progressed. They could even be happy that they didn’t lose a player after just under an hour by being sent off.

Once again it was Popp who surpassed her opponent Irene Paredes. But she pulled and tugged at Popp’s jersey, who finally fell to the ground. To the amazement of not only the Germans, referee Stephanie Frappart from France did not whistle and let the game continue.