Germany put behind their unfinished preparation for this summer’s World Cup, thrashing Morocco 6-0 in their opening Group H game.
The two-time world champions lost two of their three warm-up games to nations ranked much lower in FIFA’s projections, but eased any fears of such form heading into the tournament with an engaging display to beat the North Africans.
Morocco, ranked 72nd in the world, are the first Arab team to compete in a World Cup final, but Germany captain Alexandra Popp, playing in the tournament’s fourth edition, quickly exposed their lack of experience.
In the 11th minute, Katherine Hendricks leapt in from the right to head a cross to Pop, who volleyed her effort past stranded goalkeeper Khadijah Er-Ramichi.
The 32-year-old was once again on target before the break, curling in to guide Clara Buhl’s corner home, while Sarah Dabritz had her low drive disallowed after straying slightly offside in the prelude.
The tournament’s glut of underdogs in this opening week of group-stage fixtures sparked a mutiny of sorts, but it was not to be for Morocco, as Buhl scored within 60 seconds of the restart, before a pair of own goals in a game dominated by the European runners-up ensured matters turned for the worse.
Morocco’s woes were then compounded by substitute Lee Schuler, who put in a ferocious attacking display in the 90th minute.
More to follow…
Gulf in quality contraction?
Jamaica’s 0-0 draw with tournament favorites France on Sunday was the latest evidence that the gap is closing in women’s international football.
In the opening game of the tournament, New Zealand beat Norway 1–0 – there is a gap of 14 places between the two sides in the official FIFA rankings.
What will happen next?
Group H will return on Saturday 30 July. Germany will face Colombia while Morocco will face South Korea.
The final group games will take place on Thursday 3 August. Germany will face South Korea, while Morocco will face Colombia.
What is the schedule?
The group stage has started and will go on for a period of two weeks 3 August The group winners and runners-up advance to the Round of 16, which takes place from 5 august To August 8,
The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled 11th and 12th August,
After this the first semi-final will be played August 15 The second semi-final will be held in Auckland 16 august at Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final 20 august,
The third place play-off will be played a day before the final August 19 in Brisbane.