Angry Prinzess!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

Moral of the story: Don't pizz off the Prinzess.

For a while there it looked like it was going to be a stunner of a story.

Canada up 2-0 on Germany.

The Germans had never lost a game to Canada before. The northern girls, on a cold and rainy day, were beating the best women's soccer team in the world led by Birgit Prinz, the soccer Prinzess who has replaced Mia Hamm as the best female player in the world.

"I was a little angry by being back 2-0,'' said Prinz.

"Normally we should be in the lead. I didn't want Canada beating us when our new head coach was coaching only her second game.''

FIFA's Player of the Year for the last two years, Prinz scored two goals, if you count the one which she put on the foot of Canada's Isabelle Morneau to own-goal it in a 4-3 German victory.

"That was many spectators for a friendly game, and I think they have fun,'' said Prinz.

Actually it wasn't many for Edmonton, which had drawn just under 30,000 for Canada's last game here two years ago leading into the World Cup, where Canada ended up finishing fourth while Germany took the title.

Prinz put on a show for the turnstile crowd of 8,812 fans of the 11,000 who bought advance tickets for the poorly promoted event.

Still, it was the largest crowd of the four games between the two teams this year, with the two games in Germany drawing 6,825 and 6,804 and the game in Vancouver Thursday attracting 4,315.

Prinz said the Germans, in the end, just put the pedal to the medal.

PICKED UP THE PACE

"When we picked up the pace, I think they were a little too slow,'' she said. "But just at the end.''

The Canadians had previously played Germany seven times and lost seven times by a combined count of 25-5 in total goals, including a 4-1 loss two years ago in Columbus, Ohio, at the Women's World Cup and this year by scores of 3-1 and 3-2 in Germany this year and 3-1 in Vancouver.

"I was very, very pleased with the first 55 minutes,'' said coach Even Pellerud.

"We had crisp passing. We were challenging all over the field. We played strong on the ball and scored two nice goals. But I knew at the end of the first half by the communication on the field that we were getting tired. We were starting to be late on tackles and starting to hesitate. Birgit started winning a lot of balls on the air and on the ground.''

WITHOUT STAR PLAYERS

Canada was forced to play the game without star Christine Sinclair and starters Candace Chapman and Katie Thorlakson by the University of Portland and Notre Dame refusing to release the players.

"Maybe if we'd had them, we would have won,'' said Pellerud. "You never like to lose, but a 4-3 loss to Germany represents consistent progress.

"I feel we're getting closer and closer to them. The Germans have the same feeling.''

While it was an international "friendly,'' it wasn't played that way by either team. And it was a world-class game with several world-class plays, not the least of which were the Canadian goals.

Playing a record 124th international for Canada, 37-year-old Charmaine Hooper scored her first goal as a mother when Amy Walsh directed the ball to the foot of the old pro who chipped it home in the 17th minute.

Two minutes later Hooper made a brilliant play 30 yards out, stopping and turning and firing high to Kara Lang, who headed it home.

Germany made it 2-1 in the 25th minute when 17-year-old defender Sophia Schmidt found herself going against Prinz with Conny Pohlers free on the flank to hammer it home.

Martina Franko, who would later score her first goal for Canada in only her second game, headed one off the crossbar late in the first half, which could have made it verrrrrrrrry interesting.

"I was slightly shocked when we were down 2-0,'' said Silvia Neid, who took over from Tina Theune-Meyer after the World Cup coach directed the team to a European championship two months ago.

"That was a major, major competitive game. Credit to Canada for making things very tough. That was a high standard of soccer that made our life very difficult.''


Videos

Photos