Germany suffered a setback in their preparations for next summer's FIFA Women's World Cup on home soil when they lost 4-0 to the United States in Cleveland, their biggest margin of defeat since March 1996.
On that occasion they were beaten 6-0 in the US and only some good saves from Nadine Angerer prevented a similar scoreline, though at the other end Hope Solo also did excellently to keep out Germany. After a bright start, Germany fell behind to an Abby Wambach penalty just before the half-hour and Heather O'Reilly soon made it 2-0. On 62 minutes Kirstin Lilly, 38, scored her 130th international goal on her 345th appearance for the Olympic champions and within seconds Wambach had another as the US beat Germany for the third time in a year.
"We are all totally disappointed, that was a real blow," said Germany coach Silvia Neid, whose team will aim for a third straight World Cup from 26 June until 17 July 2011. "We will now analyse the game carefully, and so make the most of it, and indeed learn from it. Until the World Cup next year, we have to keep working." Her side, whose match in Sweden last month was cancelled due to the airspace ban, next face Canada on 15 September in Dresden.
Meanwhile, the race to fill Europe's places in next summer's finals continued last week. England returned to the top of Group 5 on head-to-head record above Spain with a 6-0 win in Malta, two goals coming from Fara Williams and one each by Faye White, Kelly Smith, Jessica Clarke and Ellen White. If England win in Spain on 19 June they will clinch first place and a play-off berth.
In Group 4, Ukraine boosted their chances by securing a 4-2 win against Hungary that takes them to third. Ukraine are five points behind Poland and four adrift of Hungary with one and two games respectively in hand. To maintain their chances, Hungary cannot afford to lose in Poland on 19 June when Ukraine visit point-less Bosnia-Herzegovina.