By Sonia Twigg, PA
Germany carried their impressive group stage form into the knockout stages with a 2-0 win over Austria to reach the Euro 2022 semi-finals.
Germany went into the game having not conceded throughout the group stage – along with England – but unlike the host nation they sustained their record through an impressive quarter-final performance in Brentford.
Lina Magull capitalised on a well-crafted move from Germany to arrive on the ball unmarked and find the back of the net as the eight-time European champions remained in the hunt to add to their impressive record in the competition.
Austria looked to fight their way back into the tie after surprisingly qualifying for the knockout stages ahead of Norway, only to be denied three times by the woodwork during the 90 minutes.
Both sides could have scored in the final exchanges of the game, with Germany missing the target on a number of occasions. They netted a late second when a poor clearance from Manuela Zinsberger rebounded off Germany captain Alexandra Popp and into the back of the net.
Germany’s victory in front of 16,025 fans will see them play either France or the Netherlands in the second semi-final at Milton Keynes on Wednesday.
Despite Germany going into the game as strong favourites it was Austria who had the first chance on goal when Julia Hickelsberger-Fuller was played in behind the German back line but her low drive was gathered by Merle Frohms.
Germany hit back almost immediately at the other end as Popp was played into the centre of the box but her shot sailed over the bar.
Austria looked to be playing on the counter-attack but it proved effective and Marina Georgieva’s looping header was only denied by the post.
The breakthrough came after just 26 minutes when Germany carved open the Austria defence, Klara Buhl beat Austria captain Carina Wenninger to the ball down the left before cutting back towards Popp from the touchline.
Popp stepped over the ball to allow Magull to side-foot into the corner to give her side the lead.
Germany had a chance to double their advantage just on the stroke of half time, but Svenja Huth could only fire straight at the goalkeeper after beating the offside trap.
In what would have been a contender for goal of the tournament, Barbara Dunst tried her luck from range with a looping, curling shot from well outside the area and goalkeeper Frohms was beaten as the ball dipped, but Austria were denied by the woodwork for the second time in the game.
Austria looked to be piling on the pressure at the start of the second half and were yet again denied by the post, this time from Sarah Puntigam’s low drive.
Germany substitute Linda Dallmann had a chance to all but secure her side’s place in the semi-finals in the 69th minute when she was played through, but her attempt to lob goalkeeper Zinsberger was just over the goal.
In the 78th minute Buhl’s well-struck drive from outside the area hit the woodwork but Popp sealed the win late on.