Germany's 10-0 win is second-biggest in Women's World Cup history
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Germany got into double figures but fell just one goal short of equaling its own tournament-record victory as Ivory Coast was put to the sword in Ottawa. Here are three observations from the Lansdowne Stadium game.
1. Remember the name, Part I
Celia Sasic became a household name in only the past two years, but she was famous long before, known by her maiden name of Celia Okoyino da Mbabi until her marriage after UEFA Euro 2013. The 57 goals she had scored in 104 appearances for her country coming into the tournament were about to be given a boost.
It took the 26-year-old just 31 minutes to score Germany's record-breaking fourth Women's World Cup hat trick -- the quickest in WWC history. Sasic's feat was quicker by two minutes than hat tricks by previous joint record holders Carin Jennings and Michelle Akers, from 1991.
Sasic might have smashed that record in Ottawa, too, going close to her third twice before finally completing her treble. Already, she has to be a candidate for the Golden Boot, although coach Silvia Neid did not do her any favors. Sasic was subbed to start the second half, Neid showing some mercy on Ivory Coast by preserving Sasic for the team's Euro 2013 final rerun with Norway on Thursday. Sixty goals in 105 appearances is the record the 1. FFC Frankfurt forward takes into that game.
Neid did leave Anja Mittag on the field, though, and she ensured even more history was written by completing her own hat trick. Sasic and Mittag consequently become the third duo with WWC hat tricks in the same game after Brazil's Pretinha and Sissi in 1991 and Germany's Birgit Prinz and Sandra Smisek in 2007.
Only one hat trick was scored in the 2011 World Cup, by Japan's Homare Sawa. Germany has already gone one better, and don't bet against Sasic grabbing another before this tournament is out.
2. Remember the name, Part II
Dominique Thiamale was certainly not a household name coming into this World Cup, but she will have become one after her crusade to deny Germany a double-figure win in Ottawa.
That Germany did not ultimately equal its own tournament record for biggest victory (11-0 against Argentina in 2007) was down in no small way to the heroics of Ivory Coast's goalkeeper, who endeared herself to the Lansdowne Stadium crowd and viewers all over the world. Five decisive saves in the first half alone ensured a somewhat respectable interval score line, while the crowd suffered with her as winces met a replay of a clash that left her clutching her shoulder in pain. One of the biggest cheers of the evening was reserved to Ivory Coast's No. 16 when she got back to her feet.
It was probably a good thing, too, as she continued her one-woman show by denying Alexandra Popp -- who might well have nightmares about Thiamale tonight -- again early in the second half. An emphatic diving save to prevent Popp from putting the game into double figures only inspired Popp to scream with a release of joy and frustration as she finally beat her nemesis with a late goal on a free kick.
Thiamale might have fished the ball out of her net 10 times, but it would have been double that had she not been there, guarding her goal with defiance.
3. Inspiring Ivory Coast
The pitch was officially level, but it was still an uneven playing field as world No. 1 Germany tore 67th-ranked Ivory Coast apart in Ottawa. It is not only about the result, however. The Women's World Cup is also about inspiring more and more people to take up the game of soccer, and examples such as Ivory Coast are the best publicity the game can get.
There might not have been a great deal of organization within the team, but that didn't matter. This game was not about winning or losing, it was about showing the world how much soccer has an enjoyment factor.
The whole stadium was on its feet as a swift, slick counterattack saw Rebecca Elloh put through on goal. Another Elloh chance was greeted by a similar ovation, but again she could not deliver with the sort of composure needed on such a stage, in such a moment. That, in truth, was the chief difference between a two-time World Cup winner and a tournament debutant.
Inferior in almost every department, Ivory Coast excelled in determination, perseverance and downright passion in its performance. What the team lacked was experience, but that is not something you can train, it's something you gain. Ivory Coast will therefore take more out of this World Cup, regardless of its next two results, than the damage any defeat could inflict.
Damage was inflicted on Germany, though. Melanie Leupolz and Simone Laudehr both had heavy wrapping on their legs, while Leonie Maier, Popp and Sasic also spent plenty of time proving the laws of gravity under repeated challenges.