Giulia Gwinn scored a second-half winner as two-time champion Germany opened its Women’s World Cup campaign by beating China 1-0 on Saturday in Rennes, France.
Gwinn’s powerful 66th-minute shot from the edge of the penalty area flew into the left corner. The ball fell to her after Chinese defenders failed to properly clear a corner floated in from the right.
In an even first half at Roazhon Park, in the Brittany city of Rennes, Germany defender Carolin Simon hit the crossbar and China striker Yang Li hit the post.
China failed to take advantage of pressure it created in the second half.
Germany won its last title in 2007 and next faces South Africa in Group B on June 17 in the southern city of Montpellier.
China, runner-up to the United States in 1999, plays Spain the same day in the northern port city of Le Havre.
Spain, ranked No. 13 in the world, finished last in its group four years ago in Canada, the country’s only other appearance in the tournament.
Thembi Kgatlana scored in the 25th minute, dodging two defenders before putting her shot in the upper corner and out of goalkeeper Sandra Panos’ reach. South Africa, ranked 49th, was making its first World Cup appearance.
Hermoso’s first penalty kick tied it in the 69th minute after South Africa captain Janine Van Wyk was called for a hand ball. She made her second in the 82nd minute, again beating goalkeeper Andile Dlamini. Lucia Garcia added the final goal for Spain in the 89th minute.
Guro Reiten and Lisa Marie Utland scored to help Norway open defeat Nigeria, 3-0.
The 1995 winners played without Ada Hegerberg, the 2018 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner who stepped down from the national team because of what she says are differences in the way the federation treats the men’s and women’s teams.
Reiten’s deflected shot in the 17th minute gave Norway the lead, and Utland scored in the 34th minute. An own goal made it 3-0 and wrapped up scoring before the break.
Nigeria was hurt when defender Faith Michael was stretchered off after a collision with her goalkeeper early in the second half.
The teams are in Group A at the World Cup. Hosts France posted a 4-0 victory over South Korea in the tournament opener Friday night in Paris.