Thailand, who are taking part in the tournament for the first time in their history, trailed the FIFA Women’s World Cup ever-presents by just a single goal going into the half-time interval, with Melanie Leupolz grabbing the opening goal with 24 minutes at the Winnipeg Stadium played.
Second-half substitute Lena Petermann scored twice in the space of two minutes (56th and 58th) before Sara Dabritz struck in the 73rd minute to complete the scoring for the two-time World Cup winners, who could have won by a greater margin had it not been for a number of crucial saves from Thailand keeper Waraporn Boonsing.
“We accept Germany’s experience made them a better side today,” conceded Thailand coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian.
“They have great confidence in winning the ball in the air, which is one of our weaknesses. We gave our best effort today; their defence was very good.
“We still have a chance to go through but this has been a great experience for us and we have to continue to develop.”
Waraporn was beaten by the first of three headers when Leupolz – a team-mate of Japan international Mana Iwabuchi at German champions Bayern Munich – grabbed the opening goal when she head home a 24th minute corner to give the 2003 and 2007 champions the breakthrough their dominance warranted.
With the notable exception of quick Kanjana Sung-Ngoe counterattack in the 20th minute following a mistake in the German defence, the Thais posed little threat on keeper and captain Nadine Angerer’s goal but the ASEAN champions were far from out of the contest.
However, ten minutes into the second period Petermann headed in Germany’s second before the substitute – who came on after the interval for Dzsenifer Marozsan – further outlined the statuesque Europeans’ aerial threat when she made it 3-0 just two minutes later.
Petermann’s SC Freiburg team-mate Dabritz then took advantage of a tiring Thai side by tapping home the fourth and final goal in the 73rd minute of the one-sided encounter.
Despite seeing her side create an incredible 36 attempts on goal – roughly one every two-and-a-half minutes, Germany coach Silvia Neid conceded that the Thais were no pushovers and gave them plenty to think about at the half-time break.
“We rarely demonstrated superiority. We didn’t keep the speed up,” said the 51-year-old, who scored Germany’s first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup goal in 1991 before going on to coach the team to glory at the 2007 tournament in China.
“At 1-0 we kept worrying but our strategy was implemented better in the second half. We’re happy this win means we won the group, but everything starts again in the Round of 16.”
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