Germany China WWCup Soccer

Associated Press

lone goal — Germany’s Giulia Gwinn, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring her side’s first goal during the Women’s World Cup Group B soccer match between Germany and China, at the Roazhon Park stadium, in Rennes, France on Saturday.

 

RENNES, France — Giulia Gwinn scored a second-half winner as two-time champion Germany opened its Women’s World Cup campaign by beating China 1-0 on Saturday.

Gwinn’s powerful 66th-minute shot from the edge of the penalty area flew into the left corner. The ball fell to her after Chinese defenders failed to properly clear a corner floated in from the right.

In an even first half at Roazhon Park, in the Brittany city of Rennes, Germany defender Carolin Simon hit the crossbar and China striker Yang Li hit the post.

China failed to take advantage of pressure it created in the second half.

Germany won its last title in 2007 and next faces South Africa in Group B on June 17 in the southern city of Montpellier.

China, runner-up to the United States in 1999, plays Spain the same day in the northern port city of Le Havre.

Spain 3, South Africa 1

LE HAVRE, France — Spain won a game at the Women’s World Cup for the first time, beating South Africa 3-1 on Saturday behind two penalty kicks by Jennifer Hermoso.

Spain, ranked No. 13 in the world, finished last in its group four years ago in Canada, the country’s only other appearance in the tournament.

Thembi Kgatlana scored in the 25th minute, dodging two defenders before putting her shot in the upper corner and out of goalkeeper Sandra Panos’ reach. South Africa, ranked 49th, was making its first World Cup appearance.

Hermoso’s first penalty kick tied it in the 69th minute after South Africa captain Janine Van Wyk was called for a hand ball. She made her second in the 82nd minute, again beating goalkeeper Andile Dlamini. Lucia Garcia added the final goal for Spain in the 89th minute.

It was the second Group B match of the day: Earlier the second-ranked Germans defeated China 1-0 in Rennes.

Norway 3, Nigeria 0

REIMS, France — Guro Reiten and Lisa Marie Utland scored to help Norway open the Women’s World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Nigeria on Saturday night.

The 1995 winners played without Ada Hegerberg, the 2018 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner who stepped down from the national team because of what she says are differences in the way the federation treats the men’s and women’s teams.

Reiten’s deflected shot in the 17th minute gave Norway the lead, and Utland scored in the 34th minute. An own goal made it 3-0 and wrapped up scoring before the break.

Nigeria was hurt when defender Faith Michael was stretchered off after a collision with her goalkeeper early in the second half.

The teams are in Group A at the World Cup. Hosts France posted a 4-0 victory over South Korea in the tournament opener Friday night in Paris.

Kilts on French Riviera as Scots women make World Cup debut

NICE, France — In the heat of the French Riviera, Scotland supporters in tartan hats and kilts are springing up across Nice ready for the country’s Women’s World Cup debut against England on Sunday.

La Promenade des Anglais is taking on the appearance of La Promenade des Écosse.

“Ten years ago I would never have dreamt I was going abroad to watch the women’s team,” fan Arthur Macdonald said. “Now the football is far better. It’s better than the men.”

The Scottish men haven’t been to the World Cup — or any tournament — since 1998.

While the men are 44th in the FIFA rankings, the women are at No. 20 and qualified as winners of a European group.

They are preparing for a second consecutive tournament after debuting at the European Championship two years ago. Scotland was thrashed 6-0 by England in the group stage and left the Netherlands without a single point with Anna Signeul of Sweden as coach, sparking a study by the federation into what went wrong.

“There’s been a huge number of changes over the last two years,” Scotland captain Rachel Corsie said Saturday. “This is a whole new tournament, the objectives have been set for us as a group and we know what we’re asking of one another.”

While Scotland is unlikely to be leaving France with any medals, coach Shelley Kerr is already sure of one.

In the Queen’s Birthday Honors List on the eve of the game, Kerr was named an MBE, or Member of the Order of the British Empire, in recognition of a career that includes titles as manager of Arsenal’s women’s team.

It’s a career that began for the senior national team in 1989 against England.

“We lost 3-0 and I’m hoping for a better result than that tomorrow,” Kerr said. “To see the journey that Scottish women’s football has been on is incredible. Forget performance for a moment. We look at legacy as well. It’s been a great journey for us.”

Unlike at Euro 2017, Scotland has Kim Little available after the Arsenal midfielder missed out on a tournament debut because of injury.

With 132 international appearances, Little scored her 53rd goal in a 1-0 victory against Brazil — part of a five-match unbeaten run for the Scots.

England will be an even sterner test, sitting third in the rankings below the defending champions from the United States and Germany.

“I think looking at the Euro 2017 game they were hit with a lot of injuries to key players and they’ve got those players back now,” England captain Steph Houghton said. “They’ve grown a lot over the last two years. They’ve qualified for their first World Cup and they’ve beaten Brazil, and they’re definitely a lot stronger with those players in the squad.”

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