Saturday 08 June 2019, 16:38

Europeans stay perfect at France 2019

  • Second-half surges secure opening-match wins for Germany and Spain

  • Three Norwegian goals in 20 minutes maintain Europe's unblemished start

  • Reaction and more: #GERCHN, #ESPRSA and #NORNGA Live Blogs

Played four, won four. That is the impressive tally racked up by European sides in the first two matchdays at the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019.

After Korea Republic were outclassed by the hosts last night, today it was the turn of China PR, South Africa and Nigeria to fall victim to the skill and know-how of Germany, Spain and Norway respectively. But while the Norwegians enjoyed a serene stroll to victory, the route proved slightly more treacherous for their continental counterparts.

Germany 1-0 China PR

Team Reporter analysis

Steffen Potter (GER) Before that first Women's World Cup match the big question was: just how strong is this German team, and how far can they go? To be honest, there is no conclusive answer to that yet, even with the first three points now in the bag. We have seen weaknesses and strengths but the next matches in what I expect to be a tight section will show just how good the DFB Frauen really are.​

Qian Sun (CHN) China played well and managed to translate Jia Xiuquan's coaching instructions to the field. They were consistent and strong in defence, and also managed to counter attack well. It will be essential for the team in the coming games to start the game at a high level, not waiting until 20 minutes of the first half have elapsed as was the case today. That's been a problem of the Chinese team in the past. And one important lesson remains: don’t give the opponents too many corners, especially when facing European teams.

Spain 3-1 South Africa

Team Reporter analysis

Elisa Revuelta (ESP) Spain finally secured their first Women's World Cup win, but only after suffering a lot against South Africa. In the first half La Roja dominated possession but struggled to create clear-cut chances and were vulnerable on the counter-attack. But substitutes Aitana Bonmati, Lucia Garcia and Nahikari Garcia changed the game after the break, inspiring a stirring comeback.

Busisiwe Mokwena (RSA) ​This could have been a dream start for Banyana Banyana, but the big stage seemingly got to the players after they took the lead. Desiree Ellis fielded an attacking team which eventually ended being pushed back into a defensive shape. This led to a number of mistakes and, ultimately, the concession of two penalties. Thembi Kgatlana's goal will undoubtedly boost the team's morale for the upcoming game, but they face a tough task against China PR.

Norway 3-0 Nigeria

Team Reporter analysis

Philip O'Connor (NOR) Norway celebrated their second goal with a team selfie that summed up their collective effort tonight. This was a complete team performance in both defence and attack that yielded the best possible start to their World Cup campaign.

Ann Odong (NGA) Not the start the Super Falcons wanted. But while they didn’t pick up points, there were some positive signs in the second half after Thomas Dennerby made half-time tactical changes. There is still everything to play for in their next match against Korea Republic in Grenoble.

Next up

9 June

Australia-Italy: Group C, Valenciennes, 13:00 Brazil-Jamaica: Group C, Grenoble, 15:30 England-Scotland: Group D, Nice, 18:00

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