After being so efficient against Denmark, their pressing game came up trumps again in just three minutes. A weak clearance from Spain goalkeeper Sandra Panos sent the ball to Klara Buhl, who made it count by putting Germany ahead.
It was a game that showed just how much Spain are missing star players Alexia Putellas and Jennifer Hermoso. They looked like a classic Spanish side with slick passing, wonderful attacking play and plenty of possession – but they lacked a cutting edge, having just three shots on target.
Spain could have hit back soon after Germany’s opener. Patricia Guijarro’s defence-splitting pass epitomised all the good things about Spain, with Aitana Bonmati racing onto it. She then found Lucia Garcia, who rounded goalkeeper Merle Frohms, but could only smash her effort into the side of the net.
They will now face Denmark on Saturday in a straight shootout for the second quarter-final spot. The winner will face England in Brighton on Wednesday evening.
The Germans once again demonstrated why they are among the tournament favourites by scoring two goals in the first half.
In the 36th minute, Alexandra Popp scored her second successive Euros goal in as many appearances, expertly nodding home from Felicitas Rauch’s corner to ultimately seal Germany’s path into the quarter finals.
Jorge Vilda’s side continued to dominate possession with some easy-on-the-eye football. Guijarro, Garcia and Mariona Caldentey played some neat one touch football on the edge of the area, before the latter sent an effort wide.
Spain were arguably unfortunate to concede a second just before the break for their play, but lacked the cutting edge Hermoso and Putellas have so reliably brought.
Popp fired warning shot in the opening seconds after half-time, and was soon involved in a controversial moment that could have seen Spain reduced to ten players. As Popp looked to race onto a forward pass, she tussled with Irene Paredes and was hauled down. She appealed for a red card, but experienced referee Stephanie Frappart waved away the claims with VAR also not reviewing the decision.
Spain continued to probe for their goal and Germany goalkeeper Merle Frohms made one of the saves of the tournament so far in the 71st minute. Guijarro lifted a sublime long pass into the area for Caldentey’s run, but the latter’s volley was pushed away expertly but an inspired Frohms. Germany had the ball in the back of the net for a third time shortly before full-time, but Tabea Wassmuth was flagged for offside long after the incident had occurred. It look to be a tight – but correct – decision from the linesperson.
But luckily for Germany, they did not need a third to make sure of their victory as they cruised into the knockout rounds.