The Germany U20 Women’s first team start their World Cup campaign on Monday at 13:30 CEST against Nigeria. Maren Meinert spoke to dfb.de in an interview about her impressions from training, the anticipation ahead of the tournament and her gameplan.
DFB.de: Maren Meinert, you begin your World Cup campaign with the U20s on Monday against Nigeria. What do you expect to see from your opponent?
Maren Meinert Nigeria are a very strong opponent. We have watched a few of their qualifying matches and know that they have a number of good players, particularly in attack. We have faced Nigeria in both of our World Cup finals that we have won. Therefore this match will tell us how good we really are.
DFB.de How have you been preparing your team ahead of facing Nigeria?
Meinert We are trying to prepare towards dealing with their style of play. Nigeria like to make a lot of space, so we must prepare ourselves for that by keeping a high tempo and quickly putting pressure on their players as soon as they have the ball. We will need to be careful and make sure we stay focused. We need to make sure that we do not let them get in behind our defence where it will be easier for them to create chances. The most important thing will be to ensure that we carry through our own gameplan all whilst breaking down every Nigeria attack.
DFB.de The World Cup begins in two days. Are the girls excited for it to commence?
Meinert: We are all really happy to be here in Dinard, Brittany. The training conditions are perfect. With every hour that passes, our opening match creeps closer which naturally brings more anticipation, but I think the players are more excited than nervous. We have been looking forward to this World Cup for a long time and now we want to prove ourselves on an international stage. The team have been looking better with every training session and every player is fully fit. They are working incredibly well together in training. We are trying to make sure that we maintain this level of excitement and concentration until Monday so that we can give our best performance in our opening fixture.
DFB.de Before then, you have three training sessions left with the team. What is the atmosphere like at the camp?
Meinert: The team really get along well together and there is a good vibe. You can tell that the players are all having fun here and are thrilled to be part of a World Cup. It is the perfect situation to be in ahead of our opening game.