The World Cup finalists from last year, who have the misfortune of being placed together in the “pool of death” with Nigeria and North Korea, were not without their chances in a fast-paced spectacle.
In a match of contrasting styles – Brazil relying on pace and flare to Germany’s patient and clinical approach – Brazil had every chance to open the scoring in the opening minutes.
German keeper Nadine Angerer was drawn out of the goal as Brazil’s Marta, the world Player of the Year for the past two years, swept down the right flank but they were unable to finish the move. From there the match turned into a series of desperate shots with Marta and Cristiane peppering the German goal and veteran Birgit Prinz and Kerstin Garefrekes replying for Germany.
Angerer twice tipped shots from Cristiane and Marta over the bar and saved Germany again diving in front of Marta when the speedster had ripped through the German defence. Prinz’s finest effort came just before half-time when her powerful shot beat a diving Brazilian keeper Andreia and narrowly swung outside the righthand post.
Although neither side would be satisfied with a draw, Brazil at least had the satisfaction of not conceding a goal to Germany after losing 0-2 the last time they met in the World Cup final.
The Athens silver-medallists also maintained their record of never losing their opening match at an Olympics, but Germany were unable to live up to their reputation of scoring at least three goals in their first match. The two sides are likely to meet again in the play-off stages here, either in the semi-finals or finals, if they win their remaining pool matches.