The Germany Women won their first game at the World Cup in France 1-0 against China after a hard-fought encounter. World Cup debutant Giulia Gwinn gave Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side the three points in Rennes with her strike in the 66th minute.
National coach Voss-Tecklenburg made one change to the side that beat Chile 2-0 in the last pre-tournament friendly a week ago. Gwinn replaced Lea Schüller on the left flank, with FC Bayern’s Kathrin Hendrich moving back to centre-half.
In front of 15,283 fans in the Roazhon Park, Germany set the pace early on. Svenja Huth had the first opportunity after just two minutes, heading Alexandra Popp’s cross onto the post. China keeper Peng Shimeng also got a fingertip to the chance. Less than a minute later, Sara Däbritz had the next chance, but her shot from distance narrowly missed the target. China looked dangerous for the first time after 14 minutes. After a misplaced pass from Sara Doorsoun, the Chinese were quick to break on the counter. Their two strikers, Wang Shanshan and Yang Li combined well in the box, before Marina Hegering blocked the final shot to clear the danger.
Afterwards, Germany adopted a more attacking style. In the 17th minute, Caroline Simon’s cross from the right struck the crossbar, before Popp was called into action just three minutes later to deny a Chinese header. The Germany captain had to be treated for an injury after a collision but was able to carry on.
The next chance of the game fell to Huth in the 27th minute after she burst into the area against a Chinese side who were sitting deep, but her effort was not good enough to break the deadlock. China continued to show their courage, and had the best chance of the game so far through Li Yang, who struck the post from a central position.
At the break, head coach Voss-Tecklenburg made a change to the team: Lena Sophie Oberdorf came on for Simon. Both teams came out for the second half and had chances, but the first real chance fell to Gwinn, who came close to getting on the end of a cross from the left.
Germany were on the front foot and Marina Hegering and Popp both came close with chances on the hour mark, but were unable to find the back of the net. However, Gwinn finally got the ball in the back of the net in the 66th minute, with a right-footed shot from outside the box. It was the winning goal as Germany made a good start to their World Cup campaign.