Germany vs China Preview: Can Neid's side lose their lethargy in time to take on China?

It will be a place in the last four or a plane ticket home for one of these sides.

Germany vs China Preview: Can Neid's side lose their lethargy in time to take on China?
Image credit: VAVEL

With both teams struggling for form and consistency coming into the quarter-finals, it is anyone's guess as to which Germany or China side will turn up.

The pair finished as runners-up in their respective groups, but it was far from convincing from either team's point of view.

However, they are now one win away from getting a shot at a Bronze Medal at the very least and both will be raring to go come Friday evening in Salvador.

Germany narrowly nudge out Australia

Aside from Kudakwashe Basopo scoring Zimbabwe's first-ever Olympic goal, Germany's 6-1 win was largely a positive experience. Melanie Behringer, Sara Däbritz, Alex Popp and Melanie Leupolz all got on the scoresheet, in what was essentially the perfect was to kick off their Rio 2016 campaign.

From there, however, it has been less than satisfactory. Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord had seemingly set Australia up to go into the break with a two-goal lead, only for Däbritz to pull off a stunning, outside of the foot lob to reduce the deficit. Germany eventually got their equaliser through Saskia Bartusiak in the final minutes, in what was a nervy finish.

Many would have thought grabbing that goal would have given them the momentum to go on and get the early goal against Canada; that's just what happened, as Behringer slotted home from the spot. But, once again, Germany fell asleep. A Melissa Tancredi brace and some last-ditch defending meant Silvia Neid's side just managed second.

The departing head coach will most probably made several changes in order to wipe that insipid performance from memory. Popp, Däbritz, Leupolz and Leonie Maier look set to return to the starting line-up, though Josephine Henning could retain her starting spot after putting in a solid shift against Canada. But will Neid keep Annike Krahn out?

Ever since thrashing Zimbabwe, it's been anything but comfortable for Almuth Schult and the Germans. | Image credit: Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images
Ever since thrashing Zimbabwe, it's been anything but comfortable for Almuth Schult and the Germans. | Image credit: Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

China secure second ahead of Sweden

After opening the tournament against hosts Brazil and suffering a 3-0 loss, China could have been forgiven had they gone back into their shell for the remainder of the competition. Thankfully for them, however, Bruno Bini rallied spirits in time to secure a much-needed three points against South Africa.

Gu Yasha and Tan Ruyin struck late in either half to hand them the win, and Brazil's thrashing of Sweden then meant that China needed just a draw to progress as group runners-up. They were largely comfortable and the better side throughout, and a nil-nil stalemate ensured they finished ahead of the Swedes on goal difference.

Women's football expert and VAVEL editor, Ameé Ruszkai gave her opinion on what selection issues could be facing Bini ahead of this game: "After holding Sweden to a goalless draw last time out, one would expect China to keep the same back line."

She added, "However, Bruno Bini has tinkered with it after each game so far, including the 2-0 win over South Africa. However, that goalless draw should provoke a change in the attack, with Wang Shanshan expected to return to the starting XI."

Ameé concluded, "Gu Yasha kept her place for the game with Sweden after scoring against South Africa, but a lack of impact last time out could cost her a spot in the team. Bini doesn’t tend to make more than a couple of changes to his teams though, so it should be a very similar side to those seen in the group stages."

Predicted line-ups

Germany: (4-2-3-1) Schult; Kemme, Henning, Bartusiak, Maier; Behringer, Leupolz; Däbritz, Marozsan, Mittag; Popp.

China: (4-3-3) Zhao Lina; Liu Shanshan, Gao Chen, Wu Haiyan, Li Dongna; Tan Ruyin, Pang Fengyue, Zhang Rui; Yang Li, Wang Shanshan, Wang Shuang.