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Nervous Germany beats Canada in opener

The Local · 27 Jun 2011, 06:54

Published: 27 Jun 2011 06:54 GMT+02:00

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Having won both the 2003 and 2007 editions, Germany are bidding to complete a hat-trick of titles on home soil and had few problems against the Canadians, who threatened the German goal on only rare occasions.

First-half goals by midfielders Kerstin Garefrekes and Celia Okoyino da Mbabi put the hosts in control before Canada captain Christine Sinclair, who broke her nose in the first half, slotted home a late free-kick for the guests.

"It was the first game so we were a bit nervous. There is room for improvements and we will improve," said goal-scorer Garefrekes, who also supplied the pass for the second goal.

The win puts the Germans top of Group A after France's earlier 1-0 win over Nigeria.

"We got two goals in the first half and didn't play so well, then in the second half we were much better organised, but we couldn't score," said Germany coach Silvia Neid.

"Things got tight at the end and it could have been 2-2, so I am very happy we won the first game."

The hosts squandered a string of second-half chances, while Canada grew in confidence as the game wore on.

"The first game in a World Cup tournament is always tough and maybe were a bit intimidated at the start, but I think we did well," said Canada coach Carolina Morace, who paid tribute to her plucky captain Sinclair.

"Christine is a fantastic player and she took her chance well. The doctors have told me the nose was broken, but she insisted on playing on. She knows what she can do and it would have been hard to take her off with her experience."

With Germany having gone through the entire 2007 campaign without conceding a goal, Sinclair became the first player to score against them at a World Cup since Sweden's Hanna Ljungberg in the Germans' 2-1 win in the 2003 final.

After a glitzy opening ceremony when a giant mirror ball released hundreds of football-shaped balloons into the Berlin sky, Germany got their campaign off to a good start with the first goal coming after just 10 minutes.

Having been denied from a crisp shot just moments before, right winger Garefrekes headed home a cross from left-back Babett Peter to put the hosts ahead in front of a sell-out crowd of 73,680.

Germany then punished some sloppy defending as centre forward Okoyino da Mbabi made it 2-0 just before the break.

A towering long-ball from Garefrekes put Okoyino da Mbabi -- who turns 23 on Monday -- away and with the Canadian defence nowhere near her, she slotted her shot past goalkeeper Erin McLeod on 42 minutes.

It was the German midfielder's fourth goal in her last five games.

Story continues below…

Canada's Italian coach Carolina Morace made two changes at half-time, while Germany's Silvia Neid opted to switch captain Birgit Prinz for 20-year-old Alexandra Popp, while Okoyino da Mbabi made way for the experienced Inka Grings.

Both Popp and midfielder Kim Kulig clipped the crossbar with second-half shots as the hosts failed to add to their tally before Sinclair curled in a late free-kick to pull one back.

The last time Germany lost was in March 2010 when the USA inflicted a 3-2 defeat at the Algarve Cup.

Two-time women's World Cup winners USA open their Group C campaign against North Korea in Dresden on Tuesday.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

07:33 June 27, 2011 by marimay
I tried to watch this, but they play like girls.
09:10 June 27, 2011 by harcourt
Do you think that Celia Okoyina da Mbabi got German citizenship in 2004 had anything to do with her being a damn good footballer. Perish the thought !!
12:27 June 27, 2011 by moistvelvet
I don't get it, women playing soccer? If they are playing out of some sense of equality and want to be taken seriously in a male dominated sport, then they lost all credibility when they posed for that playboy calendar, playing on their femine traits.

However by the look of some of them I think a gender test should be carried out, they did it for the South African sprinter.
13:35 June 27, 2011 by Clapoti
"Canada captain Christine Sinclair, who broke her nose in the first half"

It was in the 2nd half... early in the 2nd half, but still not in the 1st.
14:00 June 27, 2011 by ovalle3.14
@harcourt: wouldn't be the first, won't be the last...
14:53 June 27, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
Celia Okoyina da Mbabi was born in Bonn and has been living in Germany ever since. She got her Abitur in Bonn and is studying now at Koblenz University. Maybe - just maybe - her German citizenship in 2004 really had to do with other things than being a damn good footballe
17:20 June 27, 2011 by harcourt
Kronprinz Hmmm I'm not convinced
17:27 June 27, 2011 by reallybigdog
When watching the women's world cup I could clearly see the nervous tension in the players which is understandable with 72 thousand fans present in the stadium and national television coverage reaching millions of viewers and an indication of the growth of women's soccer.

Keep up the the great work ladies and continue to spearhead the growth of women's soccer into the future as you all have the strength and courage to make this sport great.

As for those who think that women's football is like watching girls..well they are girls and not one of the posters myself included could defend, kick, pass, cross or perform any of there other of their advance skills period so shut up!.

So hats off the the Germans and Canadians as you both played with heart and at a pace not matched by any other aside from then the men's league however with a lot less wining and diving!

After all the girly antics in men's soccer lately being a princess in women's football is a giant step in the right direction.

The Germans by the way are clearly the best women's soccer players in the world right now with U19 championships in 2011 they have plenty of great GERMAN talent to draw from at ALL levels without even considering any forweign talent for a long time as well as being and the envy of women's football around the world and the likely issue with some comments here by the much less savory and bitter comments above.

Keep smiling folks!
18:10 June 27, 2011 by TRJ
I agree with reallybigdog in the assessment of how the women approach the game on whining and diving. In nearly every case, the women in the Canada/Germany game who took a knock slowly pulled themselves to their feet while play continued and chose to "walk off" their injury rather than roll on the ground until someone with the magic sponge could arrive. Also, notice that the players don't knock the ball out of bounds when someone goes down. It seems that there is an expectation that the injured will work to regain their composure quickly lest they be left behind the flow of movement.

This fact alone made watching the game more enjoyable than I thought it would be.
19:28 June 27, 2011 by Jerr-Berlin
,,,reallybigdog...you're a moron...the US Maedels will trounce the "best players in the world"...the German team is exceptionally overrated with little athleticism

19:36 June 27, 2011 by reallybigdog
Jerr-Berlin it is you who is the moron and England recently beat the US recently so perhaps listen a little closer to the commentators and professionals vs the US hype you get from your mother.

20:14 June 27, 2011 by Cuchullain
Were the German ladies also qualifying for the World Cup of Diving? This is why North Americans despise football. Same as the men.
20:22 June 27, 2011 by Clapoti
There was less diving than in men's game I think.

And I found it funny towards the end of the game, a German player was on the ground complaining for nothing and Sinclair clearly shouted "Get up" at her :P
00:49 June 28, 2011 by JBlooze
I liked reallybigdog's assesment as well. Also I thought it was a great game, a little tentative in a couple places but well worth watching. I do think there was less diving then mens game and I can't say I'm a big fan of it it doesn't seem to work nearly as often as it's done and that's just the way they play it. Cuchullain , If you don't like it, don't watch it. And I feel when you say North American, you mean American. American television doesn't like it because there are not enough spots to plaster advertising all over the viewers and the American fans have a problem because they think because the players aren't gigantic, and the game is simple it's not hard. Tell those record setting, North American loved baseball players to get off the steroids and you might have a little more credibility about what is and isn't sport anyway. It's a great game and I don't think it's all about wanting equality for the women, it's about wanting and loving to play and excelling to the point where you play for your country and show your ability rather than just talk about it! Go Ladies!!
16:59 June 28, 2011 by LecteurX
@ Harcout & Crown Prince -

Well, Harcourt is right. Célia Okoyino da Mbabi held the French nationality, as she was born to a French mother and a Cameroonean father, in Bonn. She dropped the French nationality and obtained the German one after she had been approached by the DFB in 2004...

Now, Harcourt, what exactly are you on, please? You see a Frenchwoman born in Germany, who lived and studied all her life in Germany, certainly felt more German than French (understandably) and had secured a great chance to do something she likes in her real country if she obtained the German nationality. WHICH part of this story exactly do you think is worth raising eyebrows? Too bad the French football association did not "headhunt" her early enough. I'm French and I don't see a problem. We lost a talented player. Pech gehabt!

It's the same story with Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose: the Polish Football Association was never really interested in them until they became famous playing for Germany... Well, too late.

I'm quite sure, though, that it's NOT exactly what you mean, eh? Yeah, too bad the good old days when German athletes were barred from competing for Germany because they were deemed "not German enough" are over.
10:34 June 30, 2011 by moistvelvet
Women diving? I'm watching the wrong channel!
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