Prinz Accentuates the Positives

Yes, definitely - and that's necessary. I don't feel we played particularly well overall at all in our first three games, the second and the third games in particular. Today was a much better team performance and I felt it was a lot more like the team we want to be, particularly in the defence.

 

We certainly worked better as a team unit than in our previous matches. And that's what we need because it's not about one player with us, it's about the teamGermany striker Birgit Prinz is not only her country's undisputed star player, she is also one of the all-time greats of the women's game. Drawing on a prolific record of 114 goals in 169 internationals, the iconic player is focused on captaining Germany to a defence of their global crown at the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007.

Germany's Birgit Prinz controls the ball during a training session

The 29-year-old 1. FFC Frankfurt markswoman has contributed four goals to her side's campaign in the Far East, but Prinz has long brought much more to Silvia Neid's team than her proven ruthlessness in front of goal. Speaking exclusively to FIFA.com ahead of Wednesday's semi-final meeting with Norway, the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year assessed Germany's performance so far, reflected on her role in the team, and set out her targets for the tournament.

FIFA.com: Germany's emphatic 3-0 victory over Korea DPR must surely have convinced any last remaining doubters that the reigning champions have run into peak form, especially as your last opponents were rated as genuine contenders for the trophy. Does the result send out a signal?

Birgit Prinz: I had respect for North Korea but it doesn't matter to me what people think of them, or of us. We played well today, we got the win, and that's what is important for me. I'm happy because of that. It's something I'll keep saying, what is important is the way we feel within the team, not what people outside are saying or thinking about us. That doesn't matter at all

Your coach, Silvia Neid, pointed out that the goals against Korea came at exactly the right time.
We definitely scored our goals at very significant stages of the game, particularly our second goal. The North Koreans came out very strong at the start of the second half but when Renate (Lingor) scored, I think we all knew for sure that it was us who were going to make it through. After that, we were a lot more confident in ourselves, I think you could see that, and there was never any doubts in our minds. That goal was the best thing that could possibly have happened to us at that stage - it decided the match.

Do you feel Germany are improving as the tournament goes on?
Yes, definitely - and that's been necessary. I don't feel we played particularly well overall at all in our first three games, the second and the third games in particular. The game against North Korea was a much better team performance and I felt it was a lot more like the team we want to be, particularly in defence. We certainly worked better as a team unit than in our previous matches. And that's what we need because it's not about one player with us, it's about the team.

You're known around the world as a centre-forward, but you played a very selfless, team-centred role against Korea DPR.
I hope so, because that's what I was always try to do. All that matters is that the goals came for us. They didn't come for me but that doesn't matter. I have always said that it doesn't matter to me who scores our goals.

Silvia Neid rated the display against the Koreans as 'heading in the right direction' towards lifting the trophy again. Do you agree with that assessment?
As I said before, I have the feeling we're getting better as the tournament progresses. We'll need another top-class display in the semi-final if we're to make it to the Final. Norway are one of the very best teams in the world. The details could make the difference against such a good side. We know just how strong they are, we played them in Mainz in our final pre-tournament warm-up. It finished 2-2 and it was as closely fought as the score suggests, so there's no risk of us underestimating them.

This is the fourth time you've played at a FIFA World Cup. What do you think of the atmosphere in China, and what has changed in the 12 years since the first finals here?
I've gained a really positive impression. The organisation is good, everything's running smoothly. The size of the crowds and the atmosphere in the stadiums is great. You can see the women's game is on the up. I also think it's a very good signal that FIFA has put up prize money at the World Cup for the first time.

Do you think we'll still be marvelling at Birgit Prinz's footballing ability in four years' time at the 2011 finals?
If Germany was to be awarded the 2011 finals, taking part would obviously be a real thrill. But that won't be the deciding factor as to whether I still have my place in the team, or even whether I'm still playing. I want to play for as long as I keep enjoying it, and I've not set any time limit on that. And if I'm still enjoying it in 2011, if I'm still up to it physically, and if I can still perform, I could yet be part of it again. 

Source: FIFA

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