Germany fear for Olympic spot as Europeans dominate World Cup

Paris (AFP) –


Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg admitted Wednesday that she fears for her side's place in the 2020 Olympic Games due to the overwhelming success of European teams at the Women's World Cup.

Voss-Tecklenburg, 51, watched on from the stands in Rennes on Tuesday night as the Netherlands beat Japan to become the seventh European country to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

With only the three best European teams at the World Cup earning qualification for next year's Olympics in Tokyo, there is now even more at stake than usual in the latter stages of the tournament.

"Even the semi-final may not be enough now, if four European teams get there," said Voss-Tecklenburg on Wednesday, with an eye on Olympic qualification.

Japan's defeat means that holders USA are now the only non-European team left in the tournament.

The Americans remain favourites, but face a tough clash with hosts France in the last eight on Friday.

Should France win, there would be four European semi-finalists, and the usually meaningless third-place play-off would be transformed into a nerve-wracking Olympic decider.

Voss-Tecklenburg had begun the tournament targeting a last-four place, and this week piled the pressure on her players to book their ticket to Tokyo.

"It would be really important for this team to get to the Olympics," she said.

"Tokyo will be very important for everything that we have before us in the next four or five years."

Voss-Tecklenburg, whose team play old rivals Sweden in their quarter-final tie in Rennes on Saturday, said that she was not surprised at the success of European teams.

"It just shows how far things have come in the last few years," she said.