Germany beats Canada 2-1

Celia Okoyino Da Mbabi of Germany (C) scores past by Sophie Schmidt (L) and Emily Zurrer of Canada...

Celia Okoyino Da Mbabi of Germany (C) scores past by Sophie Schmidt (L) and Emily Zurrer of Canada (R) during their Women's World Cup Group A soccer match in Berlin June 26, 2011. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Morris Dallacosta,QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:08 PM ET

If the goal was to keep things respectable, then Canada was more than successful.

But if it was to prove Canada is going to be able to threaten Germany's hold at the top of the women's soccer world, well, that's another story altogether.

Germany, favoured to win the Women's World Cup for the third time in succession, won its opening game of the 2011 tournament on home turf Sunday, defeating Canada 2-1 in Berlin.

The Germans wasted a bushel of scoring opportunities and should have won the game going away but, regardless of the final score, demonstrated they have a team with tremendous skill and depth.

For Canada, it was an unveiling of sorts.

The Canadians displayed their new style of play on the world stage and, while the gap between the two teams remains obvious, held its own in what was an emotionally charged and pressure-packed Olympic Stadium.

Few expected Canada to defeat the Germans but, despite having more possession of the ball and playing the style coach Carolina Morace wants, they didn't generate enough chances through the midfield.

Canada made things uncomfortable for the Germans as the contest neared its end. Trailing 2-0, Canadian goal machine Christine Sinclair struck a wonderful 25-yard free kick that found the top of the net behind German 'keeper Nadine Angerer in the 82-minute.

It was the first goal the Germans have given up in World Cup play since the 2003 final.

Sinclair scored despite playing with a broken nose sustained earlier in the second half thanks to a German elbow.

As she was on the sideline having her nose tended to, Sinclair kept urging the doctors to hurry and begged to be let back on the pitch.

The goal by Sinclair, who went to the hospital after the match, seemed to rattle the Germans and gave the Canadians life. But Canada could only produce one more good chance the rest of the way.

Canada looked quicker and fitter than it has in previous major tournaments and while there were times when they lapsed back into their kick and chase game, for the most part they kept control of the ball.

The good news for Canada is that Germany is the toughest opponent in this group. And unlike other Canadian teams, when they went down 2-0, they didn't collapse and allow a half-dozen.

The bad news is Canada can't afford slip-ups against Nigeria or France in their next two games.

France defeated Nigeria 1-0 in their first game.

"We had a good first half. We had more possession of the ball than Germany and I think for now it's enough because the first game is always difficult," Morace told CBC. "We knew that and the personality (the players) showed was good, and so maybe if Christine Sinclair was more lucky ... maybe we'd be talking about another result."

Morace was talking about a Sinclair miss in the first seven minutes of the opening half. She got in alone on Angerer but her shot flew over the top of the net.

In the 10th minute, Germany went up on a Kerstin Garefrekes goal. The tall striker headed the ball past Canadian starter Erin McLeod.

Celina Okoyino da Mbabi beat the Canadian offside trap in the 42nd minute to make it 2-0.

The second half belonged to Germany until Sinclair's cracker of a free kick.

"It was a crazy match," said German coach Silvia Neid. "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 plays France Thursday.


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