Cutting a very forlorn figure sitting on the Stadion Het Kasteel pitch, fighting back tears of unbridled sadness, German striker Anja Mittag saw her chances of adding further success to a glittering international career fade as Denmark rallied to a sensational 2-1 Euro 2017 quarter-final win over the defending champions.
It would mark the last occasion that Germany would see the vastly influential striker gracing an international football tournament stage, as Mittag today announced her retirement from international football.
Mittag privileged to have served her country
Mittag announced her retirement today through social media accounts. In a statement she spoke of her privilege and pride of representing her country. She said "For 12 years I have had the honour of wearing the German national team jersey, however now is the time to say goodbye. I am so incredibly grateful for the friendships I have been able to make throughout the years."
Mittag also added she hopes her international career has inspired a whole new generation of players, as she outlined, "Words seem to escape me, as I try to sum up the privilege I have had, from sharing the pitch with so many world class players. To young players that I have hopefully inspired."
Rounding off by taking the opportunity to thank fans for their support through her high and low points representing Germany, she added, " To the fans, thank you! Thank you for being there with me, through the ups and the downs. In the 158 country games, I have always tried my best to enjoy the game and show you how proud I am to play for my country."
End of a glittering International career
Starting her international first team career in 2004, Mittag has scored 50 goals for her country in 158 appearances. The striker was firmly part of the golden generation of German women's football under the management of Silvia Neid.
In the period of that unrivalled dominance, she won a World Cup title in 2007, successive European Championship titles and a recent gold medal in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Current German manager Steffi Jones has praised Mittag for her vital contribution to the team, citing Mittag as a role model she said, "Anja has had a prominent role in the national team and will be able to look back on an exceptional international career. She’s been a role model both on and off the field, scored some great goals and won everything she could."
Adding, "I think she’s a great person too and has always been a great servant to the team. She has never made a fuss about anything and we’ll miss her.”
Mittag will continue her club career with FC Rosengård, who she re-signed with until summer 2019.