Football Features

Germany 1-0 China: Key winners and losers as Die Nationalelf avoid World Cup shock

By Harry Edwards

Published: 16:21, 8 June 2019

Germany got their Women’s World Cup campaign off to a winning start, beating China 1-0.

Giulia Gwinn scored the only goal of a tight game, with both sides poor in the final third.

But who were the key winners and losers from the match?

Winner: Giulia Gwinn

Despite a bright start and being heavy favourites, Germany were finding it tough to break down a well-disciplined China side. What the Nationalelf needed was a bit of magic, and many expected that to come from Dzsenifer Marozsán.

But instead it was teenager Giulia Gwinn who opened the scoring to cap off a fine performance. Starting out on the left side of midfield, Gwinn was causing problems for Han Peng. The arrival of Lena Oberdorf at half-time saw Gwinn drop deeper to left-back but this didn’t stop her impact, with the 19-year-old completing three take-ons

And she took her goal well, controlling the ball on the edge of the area, after a corner and firing past Peng Shimeng with her second touch; an emphatic effort.

It made her just the third teenager to score for Germany at the Women’s World Cup, after Birgit Prinz and Ariane Hingst did so in 1995 and 1999 respectively.

Loser: Yang Li

When it’s not your day, it’s not your day. And it definitely wasn’t Yang Li’s day.

The 28-year-old, who has scored 31 goals in 59 games, was leading the line for China and expected to be their main goalscoring threat from the start. But she just couldn’t find the net.

China were on the back foot for large parts of the first half, but when they did break through Germany, Yang couldn’t take her chances. The first key-cut chance came was part of a China break, following a mistake from Sara Doorsoun. The ball eventually fell to Yang with an almost-open goal, but the forward took a touch before shooting, allowing Doorsoun a chance to produce a goal-saving tackle.

And even when China’s chances became more frequent, Yang was unlucky, hitting the post close to half-time after a good effort beat goalkeeper Almuth Schult. The ball bounced away from goal and Yang was eventually booked for a late tackle on Schult.

A quiet second half followed before Yang was taken off with 20 minutes remaining as China chased an equaliser.

Winner: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg

Games like these can go some way to proving just a good a manager is, and Martina Voss-Tecklenburg won the battle.

Their early dominance aside, Germany were underwhelming in the first half, not making enough of their control of the midfield – and as the minutes went by, China grew in confidence.

Something needed to be done to shift the game back in Germany’s favour and Voss-Tecklenburg wasted little time, bringing on 17-year-old Lena Oberdorf at half-time.

The teenager’s arrival saw Germany shift players around slightly, and put them back in control of the game. But China’s defence still remained firm, and another change was needed. This time, Melanie Leupolz was taken off and Lina Magull came on, to add a more attacking look at the time.

Three minutes later, Germany took the lead. Although the goal did not come from either of the subsitutions, Voss-Tecklenburg’s positive outlook on the game reverberated through to her players, and Germany have put pressure on the rest of a tricky group.

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Loser: Dzsenifer Marozsan

There’s no denying that Dzsenifer Marozsan is a star.

When on her game, the German midfielder is considered to be one of the best playmakers in world football, and early on it looked like she would be the bane of China’s existence.

It was clear from early on that China had marked Marozsan as Germany’s biggest threat, with the Lyon midfielder being closely marked and the victim of minor fouls – no player was fouled more times than Marozsan on Saturday (three).

And though at times she did provide a good pass, or show off her ball control, Maroszan did not have the impact many would have been hoping for against a tough China defence.

Fortunately for Germany that goal did come through Gwinn, but if Die Nationalelf are to go far, they need Marozsan to stay fit and on the ball.

Winner: Svenja Huth

While Marozsan was having a game to forget, fellow attacking team-mate Svenja Huth was one of Germany’s better players as they laboured to a 1-0 win.

Huth was a constant problem for China’s full-backs and linked up well with Gwinn in the second half, after the teenager had dropped to left-back.

She completed three take-ons in her time on the pitch and took four shots, the joint-most of any player for both Germany and China.

And when Germany took the lead, Huth was the one pushing her side closest for a second, looking ready to hurt the Chinese defence at any moment – though she was eventually taken off.

Loser: Wang Shuang

When the starting XI was announced an hour before kick-off, there was a lot of surprise to see Wang Shuang left on the Chinese bench.

The Paris Saint-Germain star is often referred to as the Lady Messi, and had been tipped by the German assistant coach Britta Carlson to be China’s biggest threat to her side.

But she was left on the bench, reportedly for tactical reasons, and had to make do with coming on at half-time.

And even then, the forward did not have the impact many would have hoped from her. Wang looked frustrated at times with the service she was provided, and let this affect her game, getting booked for dissent midway through the second half.

In her time on the pitch, Wang failed to have a shot on goal, create a chance and made just one pass into the final third. China needed her to get an equaliser, but she was nowhere to be found.

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