Mon, Jun 10, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Germany, Spain advance in Cup with tense wins

AFP, RENNES, France

Germany midfielder Lena Oberdorf, second left, vies against China forward Shuang Wang, left, during their FIFA Women’s World Cup Group B match at the Roazhon Park Stadium in Rennes, France, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

The women’s FIFA World Cup on Saturday moved up a gear with three matches, including a narrow German victory over China that left the winners complaining that they were roughed up, but yesterday’s three-match program was to finish with a new chapter in the oldest international soccer rivalry, as England faced Scotland in Nice.

Germany on Saturday beat China 1-0 in Rennes with a 66th-minute goal by 19-year-old Giulia Gwinn.

Later, Spain came from behind against South Africa to win 3-1 and join Germany at the top of Group B.

In the evening, Norway found that there is life after Ada Hegerberg, scoring three times in 20 minutes in the middle of the first half to beat Nigeria 3-0 in Group A.

The Germans complained that the Chinese had aimed for their ankles.

“They were often late in the tackles and kept catching our feet,” German captain Alexandra Popp said.

Coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said that she had not been sure at one stage if star Dzsenifer Marozsan would finish the match.

“We were a little surprised by the assertive approach of the Chinese, but it’s a competitive game, not a friendly,” she said.

In Le Havre, France, South Africa took a shock lead with their first-ever shot on target at a World Cup when Thembi Kgatlana, who plays for Beijing BG Phoenix in China, curled a right-foot shot into the top corner in the 25th minute.

Spain dominated possession, but needed 69th and 82nd-minute penalties, both converted by Jennifer Hermoso, to regain control of the game.

Guro Reiten scored Norway’s first goal and gave a player-of-the-match display to suggest that Norway can thrive without Lyon striker Hegerberg, who refused to come to the tournament.

“I don’t think I have played better,” Reiten said.

The victory puts Norway level with France at the top of Group A.

Yesterday evening, England and Scotland were to meet for the first time in a Women’s World Cup.

England lost in the semi-finals in 2015 and at Euro 2017, but those runs attracted attention and they won the prestigious SheBelieves Cup in the US earlier this year.

Scotland kick off their first World Cup match with memories still fresh from their 6-0 humbling at the hands of England at Euro 2017.

They have changed a great deal since the 2017 humiliation. Former Arsenal boss Shelley Kerr has taken over as coach and key players who missed that game are set to feature this time.

Earlier yesterday, there were two games in Group C.

Australia, a constant force in women’s soccer were to take on rising power Italy in Valenciennes. Then, Brazil were to encounter Jamaica in Grenoble. While former finalists Brazil still boast the greatest woman footballer, Marta, Jamaica, appearing for the first time, are the lowest ranked team in the tournament.

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