DEVENTER: Babett Peter’s second-half penalty edged defending champions Germany to a 2-1 victory over 10-woman Italy at the women’s Euro tournament in the Netherlands on Friday.
In the other Group B game, captain Lotta Schelin and Stina Blackstenius powered Sweden to a 2-0 win over Russia.
In an eventful game in Tilburg, Germany drew first blood in the 19th minute when Josephine Henning headed home after Italian keeper Laura Giuliani spilled the ball following Dzsenifer Marozsan’s free-kick.
Italy equalised from a counter-attack 10 minutes later as Ilaria Mauro nutmegged German keeper Almuth Schult after a pass from Barbara Bonansea who had sprinted down the whole length of the left wing.
Peter scored from the spot on 67 minutes after Giuliani had brought down Anja Mittag in the box, and a minute later Italy were reduced to 10 players as defender Elisa Bartoli picked up a second yellow card.
Germany hit the post twice — Sara Daebritz in the first half and Mandy Islacker in the second — while Bonansea saw her free-kick cleared by a diving Schult with 10 minutes to go as Italy were eliminated.
“I think this was a great Italy,” said Italy coach Antonio Cabrini.
“We played on a par with a much better team than us. We had a great 70 minutes and believed in it to the very end.”
In Deventer, Schelin scored Sweden’s opening goal on 22 minutes, heading in a superb free-kick taken by Magdalena Ericsson.
Blackstenius made it 2-0 in the 51st minute as she picked up a poor goal kick by Russian keeper Tatiana Shcherbak, beat two defenders and fired a shot that Anna Kozhnikova only managed to deflect into the net off the post.
“Three points, two goals, that’s good,” said Sweden coach Pia Sundhage.
“I’m happpy about the result and parts of the performance, especially in the first half.”
Russia could have secured a quarter-final berth if they had won, following their surprising 2-1 win over Italy in the Group B opener.
But they never got close as Sweden put them under heavy pressure from the start with Kosovare Asllani’s long-range shot smacking the crossbar on 10 minutes.
It took Russia half an hour to threaten up front, but Elena Danilova missed from long range.
At the other end, Schelin shot narrowly wide across goal and Linda Sembrant headed wide from a corner just before half-time.
Sweden continued to dominate in the second half but squandered their chances, with Sembrant heading against the post five minutes from the end.
“Sweden were very strong when it comes to set pieces, there were a lot of them and this was something that didn’t allow us to play well,” said Russian coach Elena Fomina.