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Group B

Day 2: Germany, Spain, Norway all bag victories

Germany 1, China 0

Germany opened up their World Cup group stage with a close call, narrowly edging out China, 1-0. After 66 minutes of fighting, frustration and scratching their heads, Germany saw their only goal of the match scored by 19-year-old Giulia Gwinn.

Gwinn found the ball at her feet at the top of the box. After taking a first touch to bring the ball down with control, Gwinn smacked the ball into the net of Chinese goalkeeper Peng Shimeng.

Both sides found various opportunities. China saw two shots in the first half become legitimate threats for Germany. One shot was taken by Li Yang, after a few extra touches and hit the side netting. Meanwhile, a second shot hit the post, deflecting it away from Almuth Schult’s net.

Germany now has three points to begin the World Cup in Group B. The Germans will take on Spain this coming Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, China will look to rebound with a contest against South Africa at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Goal Summary

  • Germany (Giulia Gwinn, 66′)

Caution Summary

  • China (Wang Shanshan, 12′)
  • China (Li Yang, 44′)
  • China (Liu Shanshan, 50′)
  • China (Wang Shuang, 71′)
  • Germany (Lena Oberdorf, 82′)

— Rachael McKriger

Spain 3, South Africa 1

In their World Cup debut, South Africa was firing on all cylinders. However, a second half filled with penalty kicks doomed the Banyana Banyana. Meanwhile, Spain made history by winning their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup match with a final of 3-1.

South Africa got on the board first with a goal from Thembi Kgatlana, the former Houston Dash striker. However, in the second half, a penalty was rewarded to Spain in the 70th minute after South African defender Janine Van Wyk came in contact with the ball. Jennifer Hermoso slotted the ball past South African goalkeeper Andile Dlamini.

Another penalty kick came in the 83rd minute when Nothando Vilakazi was called for a foul. Already having a yellow card in tow, Vilakazi was sent off after VAR reviewed the play, showing that the bottom of her boot came in contact with the Spanish player. South Africa, now down with 10 players, watched as Hermoso scored her second penalty.

In the 89th minute, Lucía García put the final, game-winning goal in for Spain. The victory was La Roja’s first-ever in a FIFA Women’s World Cup. Now, Spain sits on top of Group B, with a goal ahead of Germany. Spain and Germany will face off against each other Wednesday.

Goal Summary

  • South Africa (Thembi Kgatlana, 25′)
  • Spain (Jennifer Hermoso, 70′ PK)
  • Spain (Jennifer Hermoso, 83′ PK)
  • Spain (Lucía García, 89′)

Caution Summary

  • South Africa (Nothando Vilakazi, 60′)
  • South Africa (Janine Van Wyk, 69′)
  • South Africa (Kholosa Biyana, 77′)
  • South Africa (Nothando Vilakazi, 82′)
  • Spain (Marta Corredera, 90’+4′)

— Rachael McKriger

Norway 3, Nigeria 0

Norway rolled from the outset in Reims, defeating Nigeria, 3-0 behind three first-haf goals.

Guro Reiten opened the scoring in the 17th minute for Norway, starting and finishing a short corner kick on a give and go with Caroline Graham Hansen.

Graham Hansen and Reiten owned the midfield throughout the match as they found ample space between Nigeria’s stretched lines.

Lisa-Marie Utland doubled the lead for Norway in the 34th minute and the Norwegians promptly celebrated with the ‘selfie’ celebration they made viral at the 2015 World Cup. Utland smashed her shot off the bottom of the crossbar, a goal that came just a few seconds after a Nigeria goal kick and an arrant clearance in the back.

Three minutes later, the wheels truly came off as Osinachi Ohale’s attempt at a jumping clearance resulted in an own goal.

Norway join hosts France in Group A with three points. The two teams will face off on Wednesday in Nice. If either team takes three points from that, they’ll likely emerge as group winners.

— Jeff Kassouf

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