Maren Meinert’s team made a successful start to the Women’s U20s World Cup in France, deservedly beating Nigeria 1-0 in their first game of the group stages.
Germany were dominant for large periods of the game but could not capitalise on their chances. Their persistence paid off in the 69th minute when striker Stefanie Sanders bagged the winner giving the three-time U20 world champions their third victory in as many meetings with Nigeria.
Germany initially set the tone in the Stade de Marville being solid at the back and dangerous in attack with early efforts on goal by Stefanie Sanders, as well as a 13th-minute free-kick by Giulia Gwinn. As the first half wore on, the Nigerians grew into the game despite not posing much of an attacking threat. Adebisi Saheed fired well wide with their first attempt in the 31st minute, not troubling goalkeeper Vanessa Fischer.
In the second half, Germany continued to carve out many attacking openings. However, an opponent’s leg was always there to block, Laura Freigang and Sanders being denied early in the second half. When a way was found through the array of bodies, goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie was there to make the save, most notably against Janina Minge and Lena Oberdorf. However, in the 69th minute the Nigerian number one was powerless as Pawollek’s initial header hit the bar and Sanders was there to prod home the rebound. Nigeria’s biggest chance came in the 72nd minute when Peace Efih hit the post.
Haiti and China play each other at 16:30 CEST in the other game in Group D. Germany will play China, also in Saint-Malo, in their next group game on Thursday (13:30 CEST), before Germany go to Vannes to play their final group game against Haiti on Monday, 13th August (16:30 CEST).The two group-winners will qualify for the quarter final.
In Group A, hosts France swept aside Ghana in their opening game, winning 4-1. However, the first shock of the tournament occurred in Group B with holders Brazil losing their first game to North Korea.