Germany, France win on women’s World Cup opening day

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Germany, France win on women’s World Cup opening day

SINSHEIM, Germany - On a great day for women’s football, it was a good day for Europe’s teams.

The World Cup started Sunday with two stadiums brimming to overflow with goodwill, color and the cheer of nearly 100,000 fans - plus four goals, including one stunner.

Playing in their trademark black and white, host Germany survived opening-game jitters to beat Canada 2-1 and confirm its role as the favorite for the title. France won the tournament opener against Nigeria 1-0. Germany top Group A with more goals scored.

“We didn’t pass the ball enough in the first half, we didn’t keep it low and that’s why we had trouble getting into the game,’’ Germany coach Silvia Neid said. “And in the second half, we forgot to score. It got dangerous when they pulled one back close to the end.’’

Beyond the two matches themselves, the upbeat spirit of the women’s game stood out. Riding the goodwill of the crowds, the atmosphere sometimes came close to the men’s 2006 World Cup - also staged in Germany - even if the action rarely did.

At Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, though, Canada’s Christine Sinclair, playing with a broken nose for most of the second half, highlighted the day with a stunning, perfectly curled free kick late in the game which briefly gave Canada hope. But Germany survived on grit.

“The doctors told me her nose was broken but she asked me to let her play,’’ Canadian coach Carolina Morace said. “I asked if it would be dangerous, but Christine is a smart player - she knows what she can do and what she can’t do.’’

It was the first goal Germany had conceded in the World Cup since 2003.

At the site of the men’s final five years ago, hundreds of German flags came out as Kerstin Garefrekes scored Germany’s first in the 10th minute and the home team support continued for the rest of the evening.

“The fans were great,’’ Neid said. “People had the feeling it could be getting close and they really got behind us. I thought it was a brilliant reaction.’’

In the opening ceremony, a globe was revealed to have mirrors which reflected some of the 73,680 sellout crowd.

Yet 600 kilometers (373 miles) to the south of the capital, there was hardly an empty seat as Nigeria and France kicked off the tournament before 25,475 fans under an azure sky dotted with puffy clouds.

Used to performing before hundreds instead of thousands, players loved it as much as the fans. With the crowds cheering both sides and a Nigerian brass band adding relentless rhythm under sunny skies, it was a stage most players had never before enjoyed.

“It is really nice to have them cheering for both sides,’’ said Nigeria’s Perpetua Nkwocha.


한글 관련 기사 [연합]

-여자월드컵축구- 독일, 개막전서 캐나다 격파

'전차군단' 독일이 2011 국제축구연맹(FIFA) 여자월드컵 개막전에서 캐나다를 꺾고 대회 3연패를 향해 힘찬 첫 걸음을 내디뎠다.

개최국 독일은 27일(한국시간) 새벽 독일 베를린의 올림피아슈타디온에서 열린 대회 조별리그 A조 1차전에서 캐나다를 2-1로 꺾고 첫 승리를 거뒀다.

2003년 미국 대회와 2007년 중국 대회를 모두 휩쓴 독일은 전반 10분 만에 케르스틴 가레프레케스의 선제 헤딩골로 앞서갔다.

전반 42분에는 셀리아 오코이노 다 음바비가 중앙선에서 넘어온 패스를 잡아 오프사이드 트랙을 뚫고 단독 드리블, 페널티지역 중앙에서 오른발 슛으로 결승골을 꽂아 승리를 예약했다.

반격에 나선 캐나다는 후반 37분 미드필드지역 오른쪽에서 얻는 프리킥을 크리스틴 싱클레어가 오른발로 감아 차 추격골을 터트렸지만 경기를 뒤집기에는 시간이 부족했다.

앞서 열린 경기에서는 A조의 프랑스가 나이지리아를 상대로 후반 11분 마리-로르 델리가 결승골을 터뜨려 1-0으로 이겼다.

한편 1999년 미국 대회부터 4회 연속 월드컵 본선에 진출한 북한은 29일 새벽 드레스덴에서 '난적' 미국을 상대로 조별리그 C조 첫 경기를 치른다.

북한은 공교롭게도 여자 월드컵에서 이번 대회까지 4회 연속 미국과 조별리그에서 맞붙는다.

1999년과 2003년 대회에서는 미국이 3-0으로 이겼고 2007년 대회 때는 2-2로 비겼다.

1991년 창설된 여자축구 월드컵은 올해 6회째로 그동안 미국(1991·1999년)과 독일(2003·2007년)이 두 번씩, 노르웨이(1995년)가 한 번 정상에 올랐다.

한국은 지난해 중국 청두에서 열린 아시아선수권대회에서 4강 진출에 실패해 이번 대회에 나오지 못했다. 아시아에서는 북한, 일본, 호주 세 팀이 출전했다.

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