The German woman's football team have opened their Olympic tournament with a 6-1 thrashing of Zimbabwe. It was a costly win though, after one of Germany's top players was injured and could be out for the tournament.
Simone Laudehr was forced to leave the match after just 19 minutes following two blows to her left ankle twice within quick succession. Inexplicably, the Malaysian referee failed to sanction either of the offenders with the yellow card. On Thursday, the German football association (DFB) announced that an MRI scan had revealed that Laudehr had sustained a torn ligament and it was not clear whether she would recover in time to play any further part in the Olympic tournament.
"You needed a referee who would take control, but this is often the case," said German coach Silvia Neid after the match.
Despite the setback, which could cost Germany further along in the tournament, the Germans soldiered on to score six goals, from Sara Däbritz (22nd minute), Alexandra Popp (36'), Melanie Behringer (53',78') and Melanie Leupolz (83'). Zimbabwe's Eunice Chibanda made it six for Germany with an own goal in the 90th minute.
Kudakwashe Basopo scored Zimbabwe's consolation in the 50th minute - the first time the country's teams have netted at a major international tournament.
The big win put the gold medal favorites at the top of Group F, ahead Canada, who beat Australia 2-0. Germany face Australia on Saturday.
"Perhaps we could have scored a couple of more goals, but we have the three points and six goals," coach Neid said after the final whistle.
pfd/rd (SID, dpa)