The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 kicked-off with the official opening match between Germany and Canada at the Olympic Stadium, Berlin. The Germans had the better end against a good Canadian team and won the match 2-1.
The German team began the match very disciplined and they were focused from the very first minute on. The hosts and defending champions pushed hard in the first five minutes, but it was Canada who created the first real scoring opportunity in-front of 73,680 spectators.
Christine Sinclair received a good pass into the German box and the Canadian star skipper had the chance to give her side the lead in the 6th minute. But Sinclair failed to utilize a mistake by Annike Krahn and her shot went over the crossbar.
Germany were quick to give a proper reply to the first Canadian chance just four minutes later, when a cross from the left flank reached Kerstin Garefrekes in the box. But Garefrekes’attempt was saved by Canadian keeper Erin McLeod.
However McLeod couldn’t do anything to save her team from a deficit a few seconds later. A German throw-in on the left side was taken by Babett Peter, who played a one-to-one with Birgit Prinz. Peter went on to the goal line and curled in a cross to the Canadian box, which was met by a Garefrekes header. The header went in past a stunned McLeod and Germany took the lead in the 10th minute.
The Canadians didn’t fold and continued their game plan, although the Germans kept their dominace. A dangerous cross from the right flank by Diana Matheson in the 20th minute was missed by the Canadian forwards and cleared for a corner by Krahn.
Matheson was once again in the centre of attention in the 29th minute, when she fired a long-range shot over the bar.
The Germans created two more opportunities through Kim Kulig (32′) and Melanie Behringer (40′), before they finally managed to add a second goal to their tally. A long ball by Garefrekes found Celia Okoyino da Mbabi up-front. Okoyino da Mbabi went past a Canadian defender and had only the keeper in front of her to overcome in the 42nd minute. The young striker made no mistake and slotted it in to give her team a 2-0 lead at half-time.
The second half was completely a show of German superiority, although the hosts failed to create any good chances till the 65th minute. Young sensation Alexandra Popp, who came in for Birgit Prinz a few minutes before, received a pass at the edge of the box. Popp attempted a shot on target and the ball hit the crossbar to go wide.
Popp displayed some dangerous moves up-front and helped the Germans to create some pressure on the Canadians. So it was no surprise that Popp set-up the next German chance, when she delivered a pass from the right side to Kerstin Garefrekes. Garefrekes just needed to tap it in, as she was alone in-front of the goal. But the German midfielder somehow managed to fire it over the crossbar from a close distance.
Simone Laudehr hit the crossbar in the 77th minute from a long-range distance as the score line remained 2-0 for her German team.
Just four minutes later Laudehr brought down Christine Sinclair to concede the first yellow card of the tournament. The resulting free kick was taken by Sinclair herself and her curling beauty found its way to the German net to reduce the margin.
Germany kept the Canadians away from their box in the dying minutes of the match and secured a vital 2-1 win in the opening match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011.
Germany will face Nigeria in their next match on Thursday, while Canada will take on France.
Group A – Matchday 1
1-0 Kerstin Garefrekes (10′)
2-0 Celia Okoyino da Mbabi (42′)
2-1 Christine Sinclair (82′)
Olympic Stadium, Berlin
1-Nadine ANGERER; 3-Saskia BARTUSIAK, 4-Babett PETER, 5-Annike KRAHN, 10-Linda BRESONIK; 6-Simone LAUDEHR, 14-Kim KULIG; 7-Melanie BEHRINGER (70′ 19-Fatmire BAJRAMAJ), 18-Kerstin GAREFREKES; 9-Birgit PRINZ [C] (56′ 11-Alexandra POPP); 13-Celia OKOYINO DA MBABI (65′ 8-Inka GRINGS)
2-Bianca SCHMIDT, 12-Ursula HOLL, 15-Verena FAISST, 16-Martina MUELLER, 17-Ariane HINGST, 20-Lena GOESSLING, 21-Almuth SCHULT
18-Erin McLEOD; 2-Emily ZURRER, 7-Rhian WILKINSON, 9-Candace CHAPMAN, 20-Marie-Eve NAULT (46′ 5-Robyn GAYLE); 6-Kaylyn KYLE (46′ 3-Kelly PARKER), 8-Diana MATHESON, 13-Sophie SCHMIDT; 14-Melissa TANCREDI (80′ 17-Brittany TIMKO), 12-Christine SINCLAIR [C], 16-Jonelle FILIGNO
1-Karina LeBLANC, 4-Carmelina MOSCATO, 10-Jodi-Ann ROBINSON, 11-Desiree SCOTT, 15-Christina JULIEN, 19-Chelsea STEWART, 21-Stephanie LABBE
Jacqui MELKSHAM (AUS)
Allyson FLYNN (AUS), Sarah HO (AUS)
Etsuko FUKANO (JAP)
81′ Simone LAUDEHR (Germany)
90′ Annike KRAHN (Germany)