In women’s football, the Germany women’s national football team is one of the most successful. The country is a two-time world champion, having won the 2003 and 2007 FIFA World Cup tournaments.
Eight of the twelve UEFA European Championships have been won by the Germany women’s football team, including six titles in a row between 1995 and 2013. The team is among the favorites for UEFA Women’s Euro 2022.
In 2000, 2004, and 2008, the German women’s soccer teams finished third at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament but won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games. Germany is also the only nation to have won both the men’s and women’s World Cup finals.
Early History Of The Germany Women’s National Football Team
In 1955, the German Football Association (DFB) banned all women’s teams from all clubs in West Germany. Despite this, more than 150 unofficial international matches were played in the next two decades. After 15 years, during the German Football Association’s annual convention, the ban on women’s football was finally lifted in 1970.
Despite the end of the ban, the German Association still stayed relatively uninvolved in women’s soccer. This was not a problem until 1981 when the association’s official, Horst R Schmidt, was invited to enter a team in the unofficial Women’s Soccer World Championships. Even though he accepted the invitation, there still had not been a women’s team created in West Germany.
Schmidt then hired Bergisch Gladbach to create the team, and they ended up winning the tournament. Due to their success, in 1982, the German Football Association hired Gero Bisanz to create an official German Women’s National Team. The first team of 16 which was created by Gero Bisanz, played their first official international match on November 10th, 1982. The game was held in Koblenz, and so that they could align with the Men’s German Team tradition, their first opponent was Switzerland. After this match, they walked away with their heads held high after a 5 to 1 victory.
The First Titles
A couple of years later, in 1984, they were determined the first place winners of the same tournament they had won three years ago, the Women’s Soccer World Championship.
In 1989, after a very successful season, the German Women’s National Football Team qualified for their first European Championship. The games were played in West Germany, and the semi-final international match against Italy was the first time a German women’s football match was shown live on TV in Germany. The game went into penalty kicks, and the German team’s goalie, Marion Herbert, saved three shots and then scored the game-winning goal with her penalty kick. The team moved onto the finals and played against Norway in front of a crowd of 22,000 people. They won the game 4 to 1 and earned the team’s first international title.
In 1991, the German National Football team competed in the first Women’s World Cup, which was held in China. They reached the quarter-final match without having conceded even one goal, and then beat Denmark 2-1 after going into extra time. Unfortunately, the German Women’s team lost to the United States Women’s National Team in the semi-final game.
After a disappointing loss of 0 to 4 against Denmark in the consolation game, the German Women’s team ended up in 4th place in the first World Cup.
Then, in 1995, the team appeared in their next World Cup which was held in Sweden. They made it all the way to the final but then lost to Norway. Despite the disappointment, this was the first World Cup final they appeared in.
The year after, in 1996, women’s soccer was first introduced in the Summer Olympics. The German National Women’s team won their first game against Japan, but then lost to Norway and tied Brazil. Due to this record, Germany was eliminated.
After the tournament, their original head coach, Gero Bisanz resigned. The assistant coach, Tina Theune was then moved to the head coach position, and a former player on the team, Silvia Neid, became the assistant coach.
In 1999, the German Team was in the World Cup again, and this time, they played in the United States. In the quarter-final, they lost to the host country, who eventually went on to win the whole tournament.
In the 2008 Summer Olympics, the German women’s team came in 3rd place. Despite winning the bronze medal, the performance of the team as well as Neid’s coaching was questioned. However, they stayed focused on improving their game, and it showed in the following years.
Despite 3 years of success starting in 2009, the team’s performance slipped in 2012 and they did not finish in the top 2 UEFA teams or qualify for the Olympics.
In 2015, the German Women’s Football team was in the semi-finals of the World Cup and played against the United States. Unfortunately, goals were scored by Carli Lloyd and Kelley O’Hara which decided their loss.
During the consolation game in the same tournament, they lost to England for the first time because of a penalty kick during extra time.
In the 2019 World Cup, Germany made it all the way to the quarter-final but was then defeated by Sweden. This was the first time Germany had lost to Sweden in 24 years, and Sweden’s goals were the only ones they had conceded in the whole tournament.
Unfortunately, due to this, Germany failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Germany Women’s National Football Team Success
After the unification of East and West Germany in 1990, the DFB joined together with the East German Football Association and created a team stronger than ever. In 1991, the unified team won all of the qualifying games, beat Italy 3 to 0 in the semi-final game, and won against Norway in the final, which defended their international title.
The 1997 European Championship was the first big tournament in which Theune was coaching the team. Luckily, it was a success, and the team earned their 4th European Championship title.
In 2000, the German Women’s National Team competed in the Summer Olympic Games for the second time. They made it to the semi-final game but lost to Norway 0 to 1 after a heartbreaking own goal in the 80th minute by Tina Wunderlich. Despite this, they were able to beat Brazil in the consolation game to win 3rd place and a bronze medal for their country.
In 2001, Germany hosted the European Championship. They made it all the way to the final and beat Sweden to win their 5th championship title.
Two years later in 2003, the World Cup was held in the United States. After winning all of their group games they had two critical wins, beating Russia 7 to 1 in the quarter-final and the United States 3 to 0 in the semi-final. They then went on to play Sweden in the World Cup final. No goals were scored in regular time, but in extra time Nia Kunzer scored the game-winning goal in the 98th minute to win their first-ever World Cup title as a team.
In the 2004 Summer Olympics, the German Women’s National Football Team won the quarter-final game but lost to the United States in extra time in the semi-final game. They beat Sweden in the consolation game to win their second-ever Olympic bronze medal for Germany.
Eight European Championships Victories
In 2005 the German Women’s team secured their 6th European title after wins over Norway, Italy, France, and Finland. After this tournament, Theune stepped down as head coach and Silvia Neid took over.
In 2006, this team won the Algarve Cup for the first time. This is an invitational tournament that occurs once every year for women’s national teams. It is hosted by the Portuguese Football Federation. You have to be invited to participate, and it is arguably one of the more prestigious tournaments to be a part of.
In 2007, the German team was able to defend their title of World Cup champions after defeating Argentina, Japan, North Korea, Norway, and Brazil. Prinz, a member of the German team, was the tournament’s overall top goalscorer with a combined total of 14 goals.
In 2009, the German Women’s National Football team once again took home the European title after defeating Norway, France, Iceland, Italy, and England.
Germany hosted the Women’s World Cup in 2011 and was undefeated until the quarter-finals when Japan won in overtime. This upset broke Germany’s streak of not losing for a consecutive 16 games.
In 2013 Germany won their 6th straight European title by beating Norway 1 to 0 in the final game.
Despite the ups and downs that this team has had, they have proven to be worthy of people’s attention. Even though some things have not gone their way they continue to work hard and have improved tremendously over the past several decades. Many of the players on the German Women’s National team are role models for soccer players all over the world.
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!