Women's World Cup: Germany edge China, Spain make winning start
Norway also beat Nigeria in opening game
Last Updated: 08/06/19 10:10pm
Giulia Gwinn scored a second-half winner as two-time world champions Germany edged China 1-0 in their Women's World Cup opener.
The 19-year-old midfielder fired in from the edge of the box in the 66th minute to break stiff Chinese resistance in the Group B encounter.
China had almost stunned their illustrious opponents in the first half when Yang Li was sent through after a German error but her shot was cleared when she looked certain to score.
Carolin Simon hit the woodwork soon after, but China earned another golden chance from a quick break, hitting the post in the 44th minute before Germany 'keeper Almuth Schult came to the rescue.
But Gwinn found just enough space in a crowded defence to fire a cleanly-struck shot past 'keeper Peng Shimeng that settled the game.
Germany are now unbeaten in their last 13 matches, the longest run of any team taking part in the tournament in France.
Jennifer Hermoso netted two second-half penalties and substitute Lucia Garcia added a last-minute goal as Spain came from behind to beat South Africa 3-1.
Hermoso tucked away spot-kicks in the 69th and 82nd minutes to give Spain a winning start to their Group B campaign after South Africa, in their maiden appearance at the finals, took a surprise first-half lead.
Thembi Kgatlana struck a powerful shot from the corner of the penalty area over the head of Spain goalkeeper Sandra Panos in the 25th minute.
The first penalty came after a handball by South Africa captain Janine van Wyk and the second after a follow through tackle by full-back Nothando Vilakazi on Garcia, which earned Vilakazi a second yellow card and a dismissal.
Spain's superior fitness saw them dominate the last half hour and Garcia rounded off the scoring when she slotted home from a ball straight down the middle of the pitch after outrunning the South Africa defence.
In Saturday's last game, Norway won 3-0 against Nigeria.
Guro Reiten opened the scoring with a deflected shot in the 16th minute before Lisa-Marie Utland doubled the lead just after the half-hour mark with just her fifth touch of the game.
Norway had their third goal in the 36th minute thanks to an own goal by Osinachi Ohale when she poked the ball into her own net after a cross from the right.
Faith Michael's faint touch was enough to put the ball out of Utland's reach before the Nigeria defender collided with her goalkeeper and was taken from the pitch on a stretcher.