Germany had to work hard to beat Austria 2-0 on Thursday to reach the semifinals of the 2022 Women's European Championship, continuing their quest for a record-extending ninth title.
Lina Magull's first-half strike and a late goal from Alexandra Popp secured the win for Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's side, but they found it tough going at the Brentford Community Stadium against an Austria side who hit the woodwork three times.
Austria, who reached the last four in the 2017 edition, started strongly and came close to opening the scoring in the 13th minute when Marina Georgieva rose to meet a corner but her header hit the outside of the post.
Germany took the lead in the 26th minute after a poor kick out by goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger was headed up to Klara Buhl who surged to the byline and cut it back for Popp who stepped over the ball, leaving it for Magull to sidefoot in.
Austria fought back in the second half, forward Barbara Dunst hitting the bar with an audacious long-range shot. Sarah Puntigam also hit the post after her initial shot was blocked.
"We expected them to be very strong we just weren't courageous enough to do what we wanted to do," Voss-Tecklenburg said after the match. "We had to play more balls behind their backline but it is something we can look at and learn from. They pressed a little differently than in previous games, so it was good we could get a 1-0 as it gave us a bit more security for the rest of the match."
Germany soaked up the pressure and could have made the result safe in the 82nd minute but Buhl somehow missed a tap-in in front of an open goal.
She was not left to rue that miss as in the 90th minute Popp pressed keeper Zinsberger into hitting the ball against her outstretched leg and it ended up in the back of the net for her fourth goal of the tournament.
It was Popp's fourth goal of the tournament, putting her second in the scoring charts behind England's Beth Mead (five). She also became the first player to score in four successive matches at a single edition of the Euros, the first the 31-year-old has played in having missed the previous two through injury.
Germany will next play either France or the Netherlands who meet on Saturday. While England, who beat Spain in dramatic fashion on Wednesday, will face the winner of Friday's quarterfinal between Sweden and Belgium.
"[National team director] Oliver Bierhoff wants us to reach the top four for big tournaments and we have done that," Voss-Tecklenburg added. "We wanted to achieve that, but never-the-less we want to win the semifinal no matter who we play against and we know there will be higher and bigger challenges."