Germany, Brazil start WC impressively, Italy made to work

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Two-time champions Germany kick-started their FIFA Women's World Cup campaign with a 6-0 drubbing of debutants Morocco on Monday, while Brazil thrashed Panama 4-0 and Italy overcame Argentina 1-0, reported Xinhua.

In front of 27,256 fans at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, world No. 2 Germany produced the biggest thrashing in the tournament to date as captain Alexandra Popp netted two headers in the first half.

Morocco, 70 places below on the rankings, were overpowered by ruthless Germany, who didn't relent during an almost flawless second half.

Klara Buehl added a third immediately after halftime before Morocco spiralled further through own goals from Hanane Ait El Haj and Zineb Redouani.

A late strike from substitute Lea Schueller capped the rout and powered Germany to the top of Group H on three points.

"We were able to impose our game," Popp said. "To have this kind of atmosphere in a stadium like this, that's what a World Cup is all about."

Morocco had become the first Arabian team to qualify for a Women's World Cup, but their historic debut ended in humiliation.

"I think it goes without saying we were probably going to lose but I think we didn't need to lose by six goals," Morocco coach Reynald Pedros said.

In Group G, substitute Cristiana Girelli's 87th-minute header proved enough for Italy to edge past Argentina in Auckland.

Having only come off the bench four minutes earlier, Girelli was Italy's hero after capitalizing on a superb cross from Lisa Boattin to beat goalkeeper Vanina Correa.

"I am really happy for me and my teammates because we deserved the victory," said 33-year-old Girelli, who scored a hat-trick against Jamaica at the 2019 World Cup.

"To win in that way, even though we had to suffer, is important."

Girelli's winner broke the hearts of an Argentina side seeking a first-ever World Cup win.

"The result was somewhat unfair. A draw would have been the right score," Argentina coach German Portanova said.

In front of almost 31,000 fans, Italy had been left frustrated for much of the physical contest with Arianna Caruso and Valentina Giacinti having goals disallowed in the first half.

Underdogs Argentina almost hit the front after halftime when Eliana Stabile's long-range free-kick had goalkeeper Francesca Durante scrambling.

Italy, however, regained the initiative but could not break the deadlock with Manuela Giugliano's free-kick sailing over the net midway through the second half.

The game seemed destined to end goalless until the stalemate was finally broken by Girelli.

Argentina made a desperate late push for an equalizer, but Florencia Bonsegundo's free-kick in stoppage time was blocked by Durante as Italy held on.

In Group F, Ary Borges became the first Brazilian player to score a hat-trick on World Cup debut.

The 23-year-old stole the show as an aggressive Brazil submitted a mesmerizing performance against Panama in Adelaide to start their quest for a first title in style.

Showcasing attacking flair, Brazil ran their opponents ragged with Borges scoring twice in a blistering first half.

Brazil didn't ease up after the break with Bia Zaneratto calmly slotting their third after a chain of slick passes.

Borges' hat-trick was completed with a header in the 70th minute much to the delight of the rowdy Brazilian fans.

Co-hosts New Zealand will be looking for their second straight win when they play the Philippines on Tuesday, while Colombia face South Korea and Switzerland meet Norway.

  •  Women’s WC
  •  Germany
  •  Brazil
  •  Italy


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