Germany captain Alexandra Popp She’ll hope there’s no repeat of her injury curse as she tries to cap an impressive career with Women’s World Cup glory.
The 32-year-old is one of the biggest stars in German sport and has won every award at club level, including two Champions Leagues with Wolfsburg.
He won Olympic gold with Germany in 2016, but Popp’s international career often seems to have been cursed, such as when he missed the country’s triumphant 2013 European Championship campaign with an ankle injury.
She missed Euro 2017 with a knee problem and then was inconsolably ruled out of the warm-up before last year’s Euro final against England due to injury, having scored in each of Germany’s five games up to that point. .
Germany lost 2-1 in extra time at Wembley, with a sad Popp watching from the stands.
Despite injury setbacks, Popp has scored 62 goals in 128 appearances for Germany, and her position rises alongside that of women’s football in the country.
Germany, which is part of the group with Colombia, Morocco and South Korea, will be one of the favorites when the World Cup kicks off on Thursday in Australia and New Zealand.
The zookeeper. Popp has never been afraid to do things a little differently.
Despite being an outspoken Borussia Dortmund fan, she attended the prestigious Gesamtschule Berger Feld in Gelsenkirchen, the home of arch-rivals Schalke.
Popp was the only student at the school and needed special permission to attend.
Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer, julian draxler and Joel Matipall of whom played for the Royal Blue of Schalke, are among the other Berger Feld graduates.
In addition to his football education, Popp undertook a year-long physiotherapy internship before completing a three-year apprenticeship in zookeeping.
Popp made her Bundesliga debut with Duisburg in 2008, having turned down French giants Lyon and won the UEFA Women’s Cup, a precursor to the Champions League, in her first season.
She moved to women’s powerhouse Wolfsburg in 2012 and won a memorable league, cup and Champions League treble in her first year.
Wolves repeated that feat the following season, with Popp scoring in the Champions League final.
Last year, Popp became the first woman to win German soccer magazine Kicker’s Personality of the Year award, ranking her alongside such legends of the game as jurgen klopp, Oliver Khan and beckenbauer.
Leader off the pitch. Speaking ahead of Wolfsburg’s Champions League final loss to Barcelona in June, Popp said she wasn’t always comfortable with the adulation she received.
“When you’re sitting watching a musical and people aren’t taking photos of the stage but in your direction, sometimes it’s a bit strange,” he told reporters. “I’m not going to pretend, I enjoy it to a certain degree,” Popp added, before turning the spotlight to the rising stars of women’s football. I would like to see the young players stand out even more because they are the future of women’s football.”
Popp has emerged not only as one of Germany’s best-known and most popular athletes, but also as a spokesperson for women’s football.
In May, he criticized soccer administrators for their “empty words” for failing to initially secure broadcast rights in Germany for the World Cup.
She also recently addressed a simmering controversy that German women would receive lower World Cup bonuses than their male counterparts, saying her teammates were actually “more than satisfied.”
“It would be absolutely the wrong signal to stand up now and say ‘but we want more,'” he said.
With the men’s team going through its worst stint on the pitch in a generation, Germany’s women may regain some pride, especially if Popp can keep fit.
© Agence France-Presse