Sports, Football

Popp doubles down as Germany maul Morocco 6-0

By Reuters
Published : 24 Jul 2023 09:22 PM

Talismanic captain Alexandra Popp scored a brace as Germany launched their bid for a third Women's World Cup title with a 6-0 demolition of debutants Morocco on Monday.

In the tournament's greatest mismatch to date, veteran Popp led from the front, heading in two first-half strikes before Klara Buehl, Lea Schueller and two own goals blew out the score after the break in front of 27,256 at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

The Germans' cake-walk put them top of Group H on three points, with rivals Colombia and South Korea to play their opener in Sydney on Tuesday.

Seven months after the Moroccan men's fairytale run to the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar, the Atlas Lionesses became the first Arab team to take the field at the women's showpiece, and they will hope for better in their next match against South Korea.

They were clinically dismantled by a machine-like Germany, who took little time to get into their groove and were ruthless to the finish.

Under the first burst of sustained German pressure, Morocco was quick to crumble.

A poor clearance allowed Kathrin Hendrich space on the right to swing in a cross that goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi completely misread and Popp thumped in from directly in front.

Morocco regrouped but there was no breaching the Germans' high press, though captain Ghizlane Chebbak launched a long-range effort in the 24th minute, causing goalkeeper Merle Frohms to scurry across her line for the save.

The first shot on goal energised the Moroccans but their set piece defending proved a dead weight.

A whirling Popp scored again in the 39th minute, Buehl's corner pinging off her head and shoulder.

An animated Chebbak demanded more from her team in a fiery halftime address but 23 seconds after the restart, the Moroccans conceded a third goal.

After Lina Magull hit the woodwork from close range, Buehl swooped on a clearance and filed a sizzling low strike into the right corner.

The night grew ugly for the Moroccans as defender Hanane Ait El Haj put the ball into her own net less than 10 minutes later.

Worse was to come as the Moroccan keeper punched a clearance straight into the head of a team mate, setting up a second own goal by Zineb Redouani, the first player to wear a hijab at the tournament.

Lea Schueller completed the rout in the 90th minute, smashing in the sixth goal after team mate Lena Lattwein's attempt pinged off the keeper.