Germany’s teenage midfielder Giulia Gwinn scored a second-half winner as the two-time world champions edged past China 1-0 on Saturday to kick off their World Cup campaign.
The 19-year-old fired in from the edge of the box in the 66th minute to break stiff Chinese resistance in the Group B encounter.
China had almost stunned the favourites against the run of play in the first half when Yang Li was sent through after a German error but her shot was cleared when she looked certain to score.
Carolin Simon hit the woodwork with a cross minutes later but Germany’s early dominance faded as the Chinese gained in confidence.
China earned another golden chance from a quick break, hitting the post in the 44th minute before Germany keeper Almuth Schult came to the rescue.
Gwinn then found just enough space in a crowded Chinese defence to fire home a cleanly-struck shot past keeper Peng Shimeng to settle the game.
Germany are now unbeaten in their last 13 matches, the longest run of any team taking part in the tournament in France. They next take on Spain on Wednesday, while China play South Africa on Thursday.
Hegerberg-less Norway canter past Nigeria
Ada Hegerberg was not needed as Norway kicked off their women’s World Cup Group A campaign with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Nigeria on Saturday.
Without Ballon d’Or winner Hegerberg, who quit international football in 2017 due to a dispute with her home federation, the 1995 champions relied on goals by Guro Reiten, Lisa-Marie Karlseng Utland and an own goal by Osinachi Phale to prevail.
The result put Norway in second place in Group A behind hosts France, who thrashed South Korea 4-0 on Friday in the opening game of the month-long tournament in Paris.
Reiten put Norway in front after 17 minutes when she volleyed home from a corner.
Utland doubled the tally with a powerful shot from close range after being set up by Reiten in the 34th.
Three minutes later, three-times African champions Nigeria were completely overwhelmed as Ohale deflected Isabell Herlovsen’s cross into her own goal.
Norway next face France in Nice on Wednesday while Nigeria take on South Korea in Grenoble the same day.
Later, Spain came from behind against first-time participants South Africa to win 3-1 and join Germany at the top of Group B.