x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Grings hopes to retain place in Germany squad in Prinz's place

Coach Neid offers goalscoring legend Prinz hope, saying she will be considered for games ahead.

Inka Grings finally emerged from the shadow of Birgit Prinz, the German golden girl, and warned she is only just getting started at the women's World Cup.

Silvia Neid, the coach, relegated Prinz to the bench on Tuesday night because of poor form and the hosts did not miss their captain and greatest-ever player as her replacement Grings scored a double in a 4-2 win over France.

"It's a really great feeling," said Grings, after the hosts topped Group A with an unbeaten record and she was named player of the match.

"It was my goal to really find my way into the team and I wanted to start the game with a bang and settle quickly, and it went just as I'd hoped."

It was the first time that Prinz was not included in Germany's starting line-up in 26 games. The record 14-goal World Cup scorer is bidding to become the first player to score in five editions of the tournament.

Neid said she decided not to play Prinz after the 33 year old showed a lack of form and was substituted against Nigeria and Canada in Germany's first two matches.

"I had a good discussion with Birgit. And we see were of the same opinion," said Neid. "That doesn't mean to say she won't play in the other matches. Who will play the next game, I can't say. I have to look at the options, see who is injured or not and focus on applying that."

At 32 years, Grings has long been in the shadow of Prinz despite her 65 goals in 93 international appearances, third behind the former three-time World Player of the Year Prinz, who has 128.

Prinz is a household name in Germany with 214 caps, and the Frankfurt player has played a huge commercial role in promoting the tournament.

But the depth of Germany's team means she is no longer guaranteed a position as she approaches the end of her career.

She is under threat from 20-year-old Alexandra Popp with Kosovo-born Fatmire Bajramaj and Okoyino da Mbabi, who has a French mother and a Cameroonian father but plays for her birth country, emerging as among the best players of the tournament so far.

Meanwhile, officials in Dresden are hoping to discover the reason for a 10 minute-long power failure at the Rudolf-Harbig Stadium with the ground still to host a quarter-final on Sunday.

The hosts were left red-faced on Tuesday night when a power-cut in the city caused problems with the stadium's back-up generator, temporarily halting the Group A match between Nigeria and Canada before the Africans sealed a 1-0 win.

With Sunday's quarter-final due to kick off at 5.30pm local time (7.30pm UAE), the floodlights would only possibly be used again towards the end of the game.