Women's World Cup - Germany hold off Canada
Sun, 26 Jun 19:19:00 2011
Goals from Kirsten Garefrekes and Celia Okoyino da Mbabi gave the twice winners a 2-0 lead at half-time and they missed a host of chances before Christine Sinclair pulled one back for Canada with a superb free-kick.
But Germany held on to open their campaign with a victory that puts them alongside France in the driving seat to qualify for the knockout rounds.
Germany started the game on the front foot, but it was Canada that produced the first meaningful chance of the contest as captain and record goalscorer Christine Sinclair found herself through on goal after a nicely weighted through-ball from Melissa Tancredi.
Most would have backed the striker to bury the chance, but she flashed her left-footed effort well over.
Germany made them pay soon after and were ahead after just 10 minutes as Kim Kulig's cross from the left was misjudged by Erin Mcleod in the Canadian goal and Garefrekes was on hand to nod home into the empty goal.
The Canadians responded well and there was little between the teams for much of the first half, but the Germans struck the killer blow just before half-time as Babett Peter chipped a brilliant through ball from left-back to the onrushing Okoyino da Mbabi.
She looked offside but had broken the trap and with Mcleod staying on her line was left with a simple advantage to double her team's lead.
The second half was completely dominated by the home side who had all the possession and the territory but could not convert any of the chances they created.
Both Simone Laudehr and substitute Alex Popp crashed long range efforts against the crossbar and Garefrekes somehow contrived to miss a completely open goal to leave the holders comfortable but frustrated.
The comfort was ended though with eight minutes to go as Canadian skipper Sinclair won a free-kick 20 yards out and then stepped up to curl it beautifully into the top right corner of Nadine Angerer's goal.
It created a nervy end, and it could have got worse for Germany as Emily Zurrer spurned a fabulous opportunity in the dying minutes as she volleyed over from six yards when she was completely unmarked.
The two time champions managed to close the game out and pick up the three points that they richly deserved over the balance of the game.
They join France on three points at the head of Group A after Les Bleus beat Nigeria 1-0 earlier.
news Women WCup: Group A