Women’s World Cup Correspondent
On the second day of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, two women’s football giants of the 90s era, Germany and China, met in Rennes. After a goalless in the first 45 minutes, the Die Nationalelf finally grabbed a win by thanks to a goal from 19-year-old midfielder, Giulia Gwinn.
Germany had a lot of changes and looks like a completely different team when compared with the previous World Cup, which was played in Canada back in 2015. Lead by a new coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, there are several new faces who will be making their senior World Cup debuts.
Meanwhile, China’s first eleven is far more similar to the side that played in Canada, with strikers such as Wang Shanshan or Gu Yasha. But unfortunately, the Chinese rising starlet, PSG’s 24 years old midfielder Wang Shuang, was left out of the team for the first half.
Germany opened the game with a serious threat in the third minute, but unfortunately Sara Daebritz’s shot went just wide of Peng Shimeng’s goal. However, the Asian side also showed their goalscoring threat. When Sara Doorsoun made an incomplete pass in Germany defending area, Gu Yasha stole the ball and slipped it through to Yang Li. However, she was unable to find the net after Doorsoun made a redeeming challenge by blocking Yang’s shoot.
China’s Lou Jiahui was injured at the 33rd minute but was replaced by another senior player Tan Ruyin. Once again, the Steel Roses had another big chance before the half time whistle blew as Yang Li fired a shot into Almuth Schult’s far post, only for the ball to hit the bar and deny China’s goal.
Seeking a chance, China’s coach, Jia Xiuquan, make another quick substitute at the beginning of the second half as their new idol, Wang Shuang came in replaced Yao Wei, shifting the side’s formation from a 4-4-2 into 4-3-3.
However, it would be Germany who would go on to grab the win in the 66th minute, after Giulia Gwinn burst a long shot from outside China’s penalty box. Gwinn has now scored a goal in every international level since 2015 with the U-17 team.
After Gwinn’s goal, China went looking for an equalizer. They were able to threaten the European side from corner kicks and a long pass into Germany’s penalty box, but their attempts were easily cleared by defensive duo Marina Hegering and Sara Doorsoun.
A surprise in another Group B matches as South Africa took the lead against Spain after 25 minutes, thanks to a goal from Thembi Kgatlana. The striker signed for Chinese club Beijing BG Phoenix this season from American side Houston Dash. For Dash last season, she scored two goals from 16 appearances and has now scored the first ever Banyana Banyana goal in World Cup history. The result stood still until the half time.
Feel the pressure, Spain coach Jorge Vilda made a quick substitution at the beginning of the second half as two youngsters, Aitana Bonmati and Lucia Garcia, came on from the bench replacing two senior players, Barcelona’s midfielder Vicky Losada and Atletico Madrid’s winger Amanda Sampedro.
Spain finally scored the equalizer at the 70th minutes after South Africa captain, Janine van Wyk, was penalized for a handball. Jennifer Hermoso successfully fired the ball beyond goalkeeper Andile Dlamini from the spot, who had been outstanding so far. Four minutes later, Virginia Torrecilla shocked the Banyana Banyana’s defending line after heading the ball towards Dlamini’s net, but the referee judged that she was in an offside position.
Spain finally stole the win with another penalty in the 82nd minute, after Lucia Garcia fouled by Nothando Vilakazi, who send-off by the referee after getting her second yellow card. Jenni Hermoso completed her brace before Lucia Garcia completed La Roja’s victory at the 89th minutes after getting a through pass from the middle and finish off the game with a low shot into Banyana Banyana’s net.
South Africa will face China in Paris in their next game. Meanwhile, a big match between Germany and Spain will pit the two heroines in last year U-20 Women’s World Cup – Giulia Gwinn and Lucia Garcia – against each other for the first time at the senior level.
Another African representative, Nigeria, also got a negative result after losing 3-0 against Norway. Guro Reiten and Lisa-Marie Utland score in the first 35 minutes, before an own goal meant that Martin Sjögren’s side effectively sealed the win in the first half. Norway now sits on the second place of the Group A will meet France in their next game while Nigeria and South Korea will face off in search of their first points.