Superb Gwinn strike sees Germany triumph over stubborn China in opener
Women's World Cup Group B, Roazhon Park - German 1 (Gwinn 66') China 0
The 19-year-old broke the deadlock with a thumping volley from the edge of the penalty area in the 66th-minute. The teenager has now scored for her country in the U17 and U20 versions of the World Cup along with the full version.
Up to that point a physical China side - ranked 16 in the world - had frustrated their illustrious opponents.
But Gwinn's goal knocked the stuffing out of Xiuquan Jia's side and ensured Germany, one of the favourites for the tournament, followed hosts France's lead in getting off to a winning start.
Germany monopolised possession and created some chances in the first 15 minutes but their passing became increasingly sloppy as the first-half wore on and boss Martina Voss-Tecklenburg would have been relieved her side made it to the interval with the scores level. China's rapid transition from defending to attack was a constant source of concern for Germany and it took a last-ditch block from Sara Doorsoun to deny Yang Li, who then saw her shot cannon off the post a short while later.
The second period was a much quieter affair, lit up by Gwinn's sweet strike. Germany were much more controlled after the restart and China were unable to generate any kind of response to conceding.
They must now pick themselves up for a crucial clash with minnows South Africa on Wednesday. Germany, meanwhile, prepare for a huge match with fellow European side Spain on the same day.
Germany scrape past a stubborn and aggressive China. It wasn't a vintage performance by the side ranked number two in the world but the points are on the board and they are up and running. Germany had gone five hours without scoring in the World Cup and needed a stunning goal from their left-back to take maximum points. China, however, aren't a side to be underestimated and their physicality and robust defending made for a difficult challenge. Germany will be relieved to get the victory but they know much sterner tests lie in wait.
Sara Daebritz of Germany runs with the ball during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group B match between Germany and China PR at Roazhon Park on June 08, 2019 in Rennes, France.Getty Images
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Giulia Gwinn (Germany). The SC Freiburg looked much more comfortable when she was moved to left-back but showed all of the attacking instincts of a quality striker to bury the game's decisive goal.
Germany: Schult 5, Simon 6, Hendrich 6, Hegering 6, Doorsoun, 7 Leupolz 7, Daebritz 6, Marozsan 6, Gwinn 8, Huth 7, Popp 6. Subs: Oberdorg 6, Schuller N/A, Magull 5.
China: Peng 5, Liu 6, Lin 6, Wu 6, Han 6, Yao 5, Zhang 6, Gu 7, Lou 6, Shanshan Wang 7, Yang 6. Subs: Shuang Wang 5, Song 5, Tan 5.
14' - VITAL INTERVENTION! Germany are almost the makers of their own downfall. Gu pounces on Doorsoun's loose pass in midfield, exchanges passes with Wang who rolls the ball to Yang Li. The goal is gaping but Doorsoun makes amends with a desperate but crucial last-ditch block.
44' - HOW HAVE CHINA NOT SCORED?! Ohhhh, what a chance! Zhang Rui bends a pass around the defence and with a first-time shot, Yang Li strikes the post! Germany fail to clear their lines, allowing Rui to power a header at goal but goalkeeper Schult is on hand to make the save.
66' - GOAL! Germany 1-0 China: The teenager Gwinn breaks the deadlock with a sensational strike! It falls to her on the edge of the penalty area, she takes a touch to set herself and with her second she unleashes an unstoppable shot past the helpless goalkeeper.
Giulia Gwinn (2R) celebrates after scoring a goal during the France 2019 Women's World Cup Group B football match between Germany and China, on June 8, 2019, at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes, western FranceGetty Images
- There have been seven wins for Germany in their eight opening matches at the World Cup.
- Giulia Gwinn was named Player of the Match in her U17 World Cup debut, her u20 World Cup debut and now in her World Cup senior debut.
- Six out of the last seven Chinese matches at the World Cup have ended 1-0 (two wins, four defeats)