by Simon Daish
Ahead of the Women’s Team final, we take a look at how Germany has fared in the competition since it was introduced in 2008.
Germany experienced a baptism of fire in the Beijing 2008 Women’s Team event, as the team failed to progress beyond the group stages. Wu Jiaduo, Zhenqi Barthel and Elke Schall were selected in a strong German lineup at Beijing 2008 but a 0-3 defeat to Romania in the opener was not an ideal way to get the tournament underway. Poland were next and another loss soon followed, but this time Germany were able to put a point on the scoreboard losing out 1-3 to the Polish side. Germany’s poor run continued as Hong Kong ensured that the European team would leave Beijing without a win (0-3).
New Format Helps
London 2012 changed both the Men’s and Women’s Teams format, replacing the group stage system with a straight knockout competition featuring the same number of teams (16).
Australia were Germany’s opponents in the first match of the women’s tournament, and a brace from Wu Jiaduo (one singles, one doubles) proved enough to see the German side move into the next round. The quarter-finals was where Germany exited with a 0-3 defeat at the hands of Japan, who would go on to win the silver medal, but four years later in Rio de Janeiro the Germans would get their revenge.
Rio 2016 kicked off in style for Germany with a 3-0 victory over USA, and then a 3-1 success against Hong Kong booked their place in the last four where they would face Japan for the second Olympic Games in a row. Both sides won alternating matches, and at 2-2 there was everything to play for. Japanese player Ai Fukuhara fought bravely and moved 7-9 ahead in the final end, but Han Ying took the match 11-9 in the fifth game on a controversial edge shot to put Germany through to the Women’s Team final.
— ITTF World (@ittfworld) August 15, 2016
“We all played with our hearts. We are super happy and can’t believe it. They were favorites going in. My head is spinning and I can’t speak – my thoughts are everywhere. We needed a bit of luck and play our best to have a chance. Before we came here we wanted this medal so bad. When we saw the draw we knew it was possible. We played perfect,” said Germany’s Petrissa Solja, after making Olympic history with her country.
Germany will face China in the final, but no matter the result Han Ying, Petrissa Solja and Shan Xiaona will leave Rio 2016 as national heroes.