Germany beat Canada 2-1 in women`s World Cup
Berlin: Hosts and defending champions Germany got their women`s World Cup campaign off to a flying start on Sunday as they beat Group A rivals Canada 2-1 at Berlin`s Olympic Stadium.
Having won both the 2003 and 2007 editions, Germany are bidding to complete a hat-trick of titles on home soil and had few problems against the Canadians, who threatened the German goal on only rare occasions.
First-half goals by midfielders Kerstin Garefrekes and Celia Okoyino da Mbabi put the hosts in control before Canada captain Christine Sinclair slotted home a late free-kick for the guests.
The win puts the Germans top of Group A after France`s earlier 1-0 win over Nigeria.
With Germany having gone through the entire 2007 campaign without conceding a goal, Sinclair became the first player to score against them at a World Cup since Sweden`s Hanna Ljungberg in the Germans` 2-1 win in the 2003 final.
After a glitzy opening ceremony when a giant mirror ball released hundreds of football-shaped balloons into the Berlin sky, Germany got their campaign off to a good start with the first goal coming after just 10 minutes.
Having been denied from a crisp shot just moment before, right winger Garefrekes headed home a cross from left-back Babett Peter to put the hosts ahead in front of a sell-out crowd of 73,680.
Germany then punished some sloppy defending as centre forward Okoyino da Mbabi made it 2-0 just before the break.
A towering long-ball from Garefrekes put Okoyino da Mbabi -- who turns 23 on Monday -- away and with the Canadian defence nowhere near her, she slotted her shot past goalkeeper Erin McLeod on 42 minutes.
It was the German midfielder`s fourth goal in her last five games.
opted to switch captain Birgit Prinz for 20-year-old Alexandra Popp, while Okoyino da Mbabi made way for the experienced Inka Grings.
Both Popp and midfielder Kim Kulig clipped the crossbar with second-half shots as the hosts failed to add to their tally before Sinclair curled in a late free-kick to pull one back.
The last time Germany lost was in March 2010 when the USA inflicted a 3-2 defeat at the Algarve Cup.
Two-time women`s World Cup winners USA open their Group C campaign against North Korea in Dresden on Tuesday.