Awful Howler From Spain Keeper Gifts Germany Win At Euros

It was a tale of two keepers on Tuesday night in London.

After conceding in the first minute of its opener against Finland last week, Spain knew it couldn’t afford a similar slipup in its second match against Germany on Tuesday. And yet, it happened again thanks to an awful howler in the third minute.

An errant attempt from Spain keeper Sandra Paños to play out of the back resulted in a gift of a goal for Germany in a 2-0 win for Die Nationalelf on Tuesday in London. In a tale of two keepers, Spain’s Paños had a night to forget while Germany’s Merle Frohms was unbeatable. 

Spain finished with an expected goals (xG) of 1.38, well above Germany’s xG of 0.79, but Frohms came up big when her team needed her most to deny Spain, which had 70 percent possession. Paños, meanwhile, didn’t make a save all game. 

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With the win, Germany all but clinched first place in Group B, a key position considering the Group B runner-up takes on host England, which routed the 11th-ranked team in the world 8-0 on Monday. Spain and Denmark, both on three points, face off for second place in the group on Saturday. A month ago, Spain would have been the heavy favorite, but with stars Alexia Putellas and Jenni Hermoso out injured, it’s anyone’s game.

Spain-Germany was one of the most highly anticipated matches of the Euro 2022 group stage. The only other meeting between two teams ranked in FIFA’s top 10 in the group stage was the Netherlands-Sweden match, an entertaining 1-1 draw. (Germany is ranked No. 5 while Spain is No. 7.)

Ultimately, a mistake in the opening minutes decided the outcome.

Spain Howler vs Germany

Less than three minutes into the match, Barcelona keeper Paños inadvertently passed straight to Germany’s Klara Bühl. The Germany winger still had some work to do but evaded Irene Paredes and Paños before firing home the opener.

When Spain went down early to Finland last week, La Roja crawled into the lead by halftime on the way to a 4-1 win. Spain’s reaction to going behind on Tuesday was good, unlike Norway on Monday, but the finishing was lacking. Lucía Garcia, the 23-year-old tasked with starting at striker in place of Hermoso, found herself through on goal but couldn’t hit the target. Later, Mariona Caldentey’s curling effort sailed just wide. 

Despite conceding chances, Germany played well in the first half and was well worth its second in the 36th minute, an excellent header from Alexandra Popp off a corner kick. The goal was Popp’s 55th of her international career but just her second at a European Championship after she scored the final goal in Germany’s 4-0 win over Denmark on Friday.

Spain cranked up the pressure in the second half and if not for the stellar play of Frohms might have had a goal or three. Frohms made what might be the save of the tournament on Mariona with about 20 minutes to play, and her speed off her line halted a number of Spanish attacks before they could materialize. 

With two strong wins under its belt, Germany staked its claim as one of the favorites to win it all alongside England, France, the Netherlands and Sweden. Spain, meanwhile, has fallen out of the group of favorites, as this showing highlighted just how much La Roja miss Putellas and Hermoso. 

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