The German national soccer players botched the start of the Nations League and the fight for the Olympic tickets. In the absence of national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, who was ill, the DFB team lost 0-2 (0-1) against Denmark in Viborg. In front of 4,210 fans, Amalie Vangsgaard scored both goals for the hosts on Friday evening (23rd/64th minute). The DFB team, coached by assistant coach Britta Carlson, performed weakly for long periods of the game in the first international match after the World Cup preliminary round exit. Only the winner of the group of four still has a chance of qualifying for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Ten players who were partly responsible for the embarrassing failure at the World Cup seven weeks ago were allowed to start in Denmark. Only right-back Sarai Linder was not in the squad for the unsuccessful trip to Australia. For the Hoffenheim player it was over after half-time, and Bayern’s Giulia Gwinn made her first international appearance after a long injury break.

Carlson had asked her team to work their way into the game “through aggressiveness” directly before the game on ARD. There were no shortage of duels, but the DFB team barely found their way into the game. From a German perspective, a Zidane trick in his own half, finely executed by Lena Oberdorf in the early stages, remained the only highlight for a long time.

The vice-European champions played far too sluggishly and imprecisely, and the nominal offensive forces Nicole Anyomi, Klara Bühl and striker Alexandra Popp lacked support. There were also some blatant technical deficiencies. After 45 minutes, the DFB team crept into the dressing rooms without having created a real chance to score.

The Danes did better, with captain Pernille Harder leading the way with some clever passes. Harder, who has been playing for FC Bayern since this season, was also instrumental in the 1-0 win. With a long ball into the center, the 30-year-old undermined the German defense, then Vangsgaard prevailed in a duel against the weakly defending Felicitas Rauch – goalkeeper Merle Frohms was then powerless against the placed low shot.

After the break, not only did Jule Brand and Gwinn come into play for Nicole Anyomi and Linder, but also the much-needed momentum. First, Sydney Lohmann missed a great opportunity to equalize with a header from Popp’s cross, and shortly afterwards Popp himself aimed past.

The goal still fell – but on the other side. Vangsgaard was successful again, running into a sloppy back pass from Gwinn and also benefiting from the lack of coordination between goalkeeper Frohms and defense chief Marina Hegering. The Germans then struggled to catch up, but Denmark defended compactly until the final whistle.

Carlson doesn’t have much time to come to terms with it; the game against Iceland in Bochum will continue on Tuesday (6.15 p.m./ZDF). Another opponent in Group 3 of League A is Wales. Only the group winners make it to the final round, where the only two European Olympic places for Paris 2024 will be played. The next two games in the new competition will take place on October 27th in Sinsheim against Wales and on October 31st in Iceland.

In the parallel game of the Nations League, Spain against Sweden, the Spanish footballers received a lot of support. Together with the players from the Swedish national team, the soccer world champions sent a sign of global solidarity in the fight against sexual assault. Before the game, the players first posed for a team photo with their fists raised. Afterwards, the Spanish women gathered on the halfway line together with the Swedes behind a poster with the inscription “

The game ended with a 3-2 win for the world champions. After a turbulent final phase, the decision came in the sixth minute of added time when Mariona Caldentey scored from a penalty. The person responsible, Amanda Ilestedt, had previously received a red card.

Before the game started, however, the impressions of the past few weeks were still reflected. The then head of the association, Luis Rubiales, kissed player Jennifer Hermoso on the mouth at the award ceremony after Spain won the World Cup final in Sydney on August 20th. He asserts that it was done by mutual consent. But Hermoso said she felt “like the victim of an impulsive, sexist and inappropriate act to which I did not consent.”

The players had demanded personnel and structural changes at the national association RFEF. They also called for an international boycott to emphasize the demands. During negotiations at the training camp before the Sweden game, a number of agreements were reached with the mediation of the government and unions.