Germany opened their 2019 Women's World Cup campaign with a win, although the scoreline didn't reflect the true nature of the game. There are also concerns about injuries to Germany's team.
Germany 1-0 China
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg raised her hands in thanks as the final whistle went. Germany got the win they wanted, but it was fortunate.
China missed an open goal and hit the post in the first half as Germany's strong started quickly faded. In the second half, 19-year-old Guilia Gwinn thundered in a strike from the edge of the box after China only half cleared a corner.
"Scoring this kind of goal in the opening game of the World Cup is huge for my confidence but the most important thing is getting the three points," Gwinn said afterwards, smiling.
The teenager's goal proved enough but Germany might have paid a heavy price for the win, with Alexandra Popp and Dzsenifer Marozsan taking a few knocks.
"They were always late in the tackle and stepping on our feet," captain Popp said afterwards. "We said at the break that we needed to fight... We've arrived at the tournament now."
Voss-Tecklenburg also spoke of the aggressive nature of the game. "Maroszan doesn't look good. A lot of them have ankle trouble," Voss-Tecklenburg. "But we battled today and that's what deserves respect."
"It was tough today, but also a lot of team work. Even if it wasn't pretty, it might be the start we need."
Germany face Spain next on Wednesday, June 12.
As it happened:
Germany get the opening game win they wanted, but were fortunate to do so in a game that could well have been lost had China showed more composure in key moments. A brilliant goal in the second half from Guilia Gwinn ended up being enough for Germany, but Martina Voss-Tecklenburg will know that much works is to be done if Germany are indeed to go far in this tournament.
90' There will be three additional minutes in Rennes.
86' Huth comes off. Schüller is on for the final few minutes.
82' CHANCE! China do deserve an equalizer. Schult punches a dangerous cross and it falls to Zhang, but her effort goes over the bar. Nearly, which has been the story of China's day really.
78' Huth, who has been Germany's most dangerous player, takes two promising attacks and slows them down too much, leaving the chance to disappear before the most can be made of it. Then Gwinn gets a chance down the right and aims a shot, but Peng deals with it (just about).
71' China look a bit deflated, and it's easy to understand why. They had two massive chances. Yang, who missed one of them, comes off for Song Duan (another attacker). Time for them to roll the dice. Germany will just want to get out of here with the win.
66' GOAL! 1-0 Germany (Gwinn) There is the moment Germany needed! A corner for Germany comes after China needlessly concede the set-piece. It's swung in, cleared but only as far as Gwinn on the edge of the box. She has a yard to work with and curls a beauty into the left-hand corner. A massive goal for Germany. A few minutes afterwards, she is still all smiles. What a moment. The 19-year-old's ninth game for her country and her second goal might be her most favorite ever. Voss-Tecklenburg is equally delighted, jumping out of her seat in joy.
62' Germany are pushing but neat passages are followed by bad passes. Popp gets annoyed with a late tackle and gets up to send a little push. Leupolz comes off, who hasn't really made the kind of impact she would have wanted. Lina Magull, Bayern's midfielder, comes on as Germany seek some inspiration.
56' CHANCE! Giulia Gwinn delivers a dangerous ball that Popp nearly gets a touch on, but Peng just about palms it away. Really dangerous from Gwinn, who at 19 is playing at her first World Cup. A couple of subs to note: Shuang Wang came on at the break for China, while Germany brought on Lena Oberdorf.
51' Popp goes for it from range but it's curls the wrong way. Again, Germany have started positively. Maroszan has a chance to cause problems from a set-piece from the right but the delivery isn't great. As a colleague quite rightly says, Germany haven't helped themselves so far here today.
46' Germany get us restarted.
Germany escape the first half without conceding. China had two massive chances but poor composure in key moments has cost them - and saved Germany. Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's side started well, with Svenja Huth particularly impressing, but couldn't make the most of their strong start. Again though, China should be ahead - even without Shuang Wang (on the bench).
42' CHANCE! With Germany easing off, China work their way back into the game and after one attack ends in a strong tackle by Germany's defense. The next one is far more promising. Suddenly Yang Li has a chance on goal, curls it into the far corner but it clips the post. Schult can't get it cleanly and Yang follows up, and clips Schult. Yellow card. But what a chance. China should be up by two now!
36' China trying to play it out the back but struggling. Germany's press is just about working, but again, like much of their efforts this half, they haven't done enough with it. Worth remembering that China should be ahead.
32' Ouch! Jiahui Lou takes a nasty clip on the anke and has to receive treatment. Germany's pressure is still on, but China are just about dealing with it at the moment. Lou hobbles back on but eventually can't continue. Tan Ruyin comes on.
27' Huth attacks again down the left, cuts in and gets the shot away but it's just over. Right idea, and very nearly the right execution.
20' CROSSBAR! Germany send a cross in that dips late and hits the bar. One of those that might just have crept in. Carolin Simon would have been the hero. Then Popp gets to a deep cross, but China's goalkeeper Peng just gets enough on it force Popp's header over the bar. Popp stays down and her left ankle looks in a lot of pain.
14' CHANCE! What a chance. China should be ahead. A misplaced pass by Doorsoun-Khajeh opens up the counterattack. Neat interplay sees Wu with an enormous chance to score, but she passes to Wang instead. She has an open goal on the angle to score but hesitates and Germany get the block in. Huge chance. China should be ahead.
11' Huth is proving a problem down the left. Another attack gets in behind China's defense but the final pass goes astray. China try to get something going on the break but the long ball falls straight into Schult's arms. Germany are in control, but haven't converted it yet.
4' Germany make a strong start! Popp gets in down the right and crosses it into the middle. It nearly lands on Huth's head, but it's palmed away by Peng. Then Däbritz fires in a long range effort just passed the post. Aggressive play from Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's side.
1' Germany's 2019 World Cup campaign is underway!
— TEAMS! Popp leads the line with all the experience you could ask for. Marozsan, who gave up the captaincy because it was more of a burden, leads the way in a packed midfield. Oddly enough, China's best play Shuang Wang is on the bench, which is a big surprise.
Germany XI: Schult - Simon, Doorsoun-Khajeh, Hegering, Hendrich - Gwinn, Dabritz, Leupolz, Marozsan, Huth - Popp
China XI: Peng - Lin, Han, Wu, Liu - Zhang, Gu, Yao, Lou - Wang, Yang
— Good afternoon! After the excitement of the World Cup burst into life with the opening game last night, it's time for Germany to take center stage. They are one of the favorites for the tournament, along with France and the USA, but to get there they have to win the opener.