Benson's Breakdown: Germany vs. Sweden

October 12, 2003
By Jenny Benson

This final was better than anyone could have imagined. It was end-to-end action for the entire 90 minutes plus. I found myself numerous times up out of my seat with how many scoring chances each team created.

I went in like most people thinking that Germany might run away with it, but quickly saw that Sweden was ready to play. They came out attacking with all forces and by the end of the first half had Germany on its heels a little bit. I thought that Hanna Ljungberg and Victoria Svensson both had great matches by creating opportunities for each other off counterattacks, whereas Germany's attack was varied between the flanks and the center of the field.

This was a great display of women's soccer and a great way to end a fabulous World Cup.

Germany's Defense: I thought they did a good job of containing Svensson and Ljungberg. These are two of the best attackers in the world and they held them only to one goal. Goalie Silke Rottenberg also did a great job of directing her backline and keeping the Germans organized. The defense stayed composed and battled well, both on the ground and in the air.

Germany's Midfield: This midfield did a great job of making diagonal runs out of the midfield to penetrate Sweden's backline. I thought Bettina Wiegmann was the standout player. She was all over the field defending and flying into the attack. She made things happen and was a big reason why Germany brought home the victory.

Germany's Forwards: The forwards have been amazing all tournament long and I think today was no exception. Birgit Prinz and Maren Meinert were causing havoc for Sweden's backline all game. These two players complement each other so well and did such a good job of creating scoring opportunities for each other too. Prinz's strength and speed mixed with Meinert's grace and composure was so apparent on the field and you could just see how confident they are playing together.

Sweden's Defense: Sweden's backline had a solid game today. Germany has a very unpredictable attack and I thought that they did a good job slowing it down. I did notice that Germany attacked a lot on their right side. Sweden's left back was getting sucked out and the Germans were getting to the end line on Sweden's left side. Kristin Bengsston did a better job of defending her area when she came in during the second half. Goalkeeper Caroline Joensson made some great saves throughout the match to keep Sweden's hopes alive.

Sweden's Midfield: The midfield played solid the entire tournament and improved every game they played. They looked a little shaky when I first saw them play the U.S. but ended up with a great game on Sunday by doing a good job of penetrating Germany's backline. I also thought they had some good final passes into Svennson and Ljungberg giving them plenty of scoring opportunities.

Sweden's Forwards: What a final Svensson and Ljungberg had. They showed what intelligent and hardworking players they are in this World Cup. These were the two I was most impressed with. They were all over Germany's defense and made some good penetrating runs through the gaps and getting in behind the backline. They created some breakaway chances, one of which they capitalized on and made themselves so dangerous on counterattacks. These two players work extremely well together and did a nice job of setting each other up with scoring opportunities. They also put good pressure on Germany's defense so it didn't have free service all the time.

Overall, I thought that the World Cup final couldn't be anymore exciting than it was. This game had great scoring chances, amazing defensive plays, and a whole lot of emotion. At the end of the game, I hated to see any team lose because they both played so hard and left everything out there on the field. I think these two countries will be contenders in the World Cup for decades to come.

Jenny Benson, U.S. Women's National Team pool player and former Philadelphia Charge defender, is covering the Women's World Cup for ESPN Soccernet.com.