Germany Put 10 Past Ivory Coast To Open Up Women's World Cup Group Stage

Well, anyone who didn't believe that the German Women's National Team was for real was proven sorely mistaken on Sunday when they thoroughly demolished the Ivory Coast, winning 10-0. The Germans, who picked up dual hat tricks from Celia Sasic and Anja Mittag, could have had 15 goals if they'd really wanted that many, and laid down a marker to all other teams in this tournament: they are here to play, and they are here to win.

This was one of the least competitive football matches this writer has ever seen, and the Germans were only one goal away from equalling the Women's World Cup record for largest scoring margin. The Germans began the match on the front foot, and never took their foot off the gas pedal.

Attacking immediately from the kick off, they fashioned the game's first clear cut chance and the game's first goal in the 3rd minute. For the first of many times, Simone Laudehr strode forward down the right wing and beat several players off the dribble. After getting to the byline, she cut a cross back across the face of goal right to the feet of Celia Sasic, who made no mistake finishing coolly to begin the coming avalanche of German goals.

The Germans wasted no time before beginning to attack again, and created another gorgeous chance just two minutes later when Alexandra Popp was played in 1v1 with Ivorian shot stopper Dominique Thiamale. Thiamale stood tall, and made a strong save to keep it to 1-0. Popp had another chance in the 8th minute, after Goeßling whipped in a great ball to the far post. The midfielder rose up strongly, but glanced her header just wide.

The Ivorians were powerless to stop the advancing German attack, and it seemed only a matter of time until they put the game out of reach. The second goal came in the 14th minute, again from Sasic. Goeßling again played creator, this time from the right wing and served a quality ball into the box that Sasic powered home.

The game was one non-stop attack from Germany, as the Ivory Coast seemed to come in with one, nonadaptable gameplan to keep the Germans out: play the highest of high lines. Every time Germany attacked, they looked to catch them offside. Rather than drop 11 women behind the ball and dig in, they opted to try and catch Germany out. It didn't work.

While playing the high line didn't work defensively, it led to the occasional half chance for the Ivorians at the other end. Most of the time, they came from the running of Rebecca Elloh. She had a great chance in the 20th minute after making a mazy run down the right wing, but tried to check back onto her left foot once in a position to shoot and was dispossessed.

While the chance may have given the Ivorians some life, their hope was dashed in the 29th minute when Anja Mittag completed a flowing piece of passing to make it 3-0 for the Germans. This kicked off a flurry of goals, as Mittag took a turn playing the role of creator and set up another chance for Sasic, who duly made it 4-0 in the 31st minute. Mittag then got her second of the day in the 35th minute after Laudehr created another chance down the right wing. 

Following the fifth goal, the tempo of the game slowed down for a while. The first half finished without major incident, and in the second period it was clear that the Women's World Cup debutants had a new game plan: be extremely physical.

Six Ivorians wound up with their name in the referee's book, and four of the bookings came after the break. Especially for the first 15 minutes of the second period, the African side looked to harass, hustle and hack at every opportunity. It seemed as though the only way they thought they could stop the Germans from developing a passing rhythm was to force the game to be stopped every 30 seconds, and they wound up committing 29 fouls.

While that strategy was somewhat effective for about 15 minutes, the muted resistence collapsed in the 63rd minute when Mittag completed her hat trick. After attempting to be cute at the back, the Ivorian defense presented Mittag with a free 1v1 with Thiamale and she held her nerve to make it 6-0.

In the 71st minute, Laudehr made it 7-0 when she took a chance very well to add a goal to her tally of two assists on the day. Just four minutes later, two substitutes combined to make it 8-0 in favor of the Germans as Lena Petermann found Sara Daebritz, who scored to complete a dream Women's World Cup debut.

The Germans were far from done, and Melanie Behringer got a goal of her own in the 79th minute when she turned and rocketed a volley home from 10 yards out. Finally, Popp closed out the scoring in the 85th minute with a superbly taken free kick.

It was a stunning end to an unfortunately predictable day. The Germans further entrenched themselves as one of the tournament favorites while the Ivorians looked as if they were nowhere near ready for the tournament. Germany will now look to book their place in the last 16 when they take on Norway on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Ivory Coast will look to keep their Women's World Cup dream alive on Thursday when they have a hugely winnable match against Thailand.

Group B Standings

1.) Germany, 3 Points, 10 Goals For, 0 Goals Against, +10 Goal Differential
2.) Norway, 3 Points, 4 Goals For, 0 Goals Against, +4 Goal Differential
3.) Thailand, 0 Points, 0 Goals For, 4 Goals Against, -4 Goal Differential
4.) Ivory Coast, 0 Points, 0 Goals For, 10 Goals Against, -10 Goal Differential