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WOMENS WORLD CUP: Canada lose opening game to hosts Germany

The 2011 Women's World Cup got underway in Germany with the hosts defeating Canada 2-1 in the opening Group A game. Kerstin Garefrekes gave Germany an early lead which was doubled just before the break through Celia Okoyino da Mbabi.

But Canada always looked capable of disturbing the World Champions and pulled a goal back with eight minutes remaining direct from a free kick from their outstanding player Christine Sinclair.

But the Germans held out in a tense end to the game in front of nearly 72,000 spectators.

Germany coach Silvia Neid reflected on the topsy-turvy nature of the encounter: "It was a crazy match. We didn't start at all well in the first half. We didn't combine, we played too many long balls and yet we scored two goals.

"In the second half we started to combine and created a lot of chances but we didn't score. It was very, very close at the end. It could easily have finished 2-2, so I'm delighted we won our Opening Match and took all three points. I think most would agree we beat a very good team today."

Canada coach Carolina Morace was pleased with the performance, if not the result: "I think it was a good game, certainly one the fans will have enjoyed. We had more possession than the Germans - and to do that in Germany, in front of this magnificent crowd and against the best team in the world, is very good indeed.

"The first match of a tournament is always difficult. Perhaps we were a little bit fearful at the start but my team put in a good performance."

In the other Group A game France narrowly overcame Nigeria 1-0 with 27,674 in attendance.

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Dave Williams

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