Germans crash to classy Koreans
Goals from Jong Pok Hui and Jo Yun Mi separated the sides at the end but, in truth, there was a far greater gulf between these two Group C rivals than the scoreline would suggest, with the Asian underdogs unfortunate not to win by a considerably more handsome margin.
It was, however, to her immense credit that German coach Maren Meinert candidly acknowledged as much at the post-match press conference. She said: "I'm very disappointed because we went into this game looking for the three points that everyone expected from us.
"But from very early in the match, we could see that we were not the better team today and, although we improved in the second half, by then the match was already going away from us. In the end, I would actually say we were lucky to lose 2-0. It's hard to say that, but it's true. We came up against a very good opponent today."
Korean coach Choe Kwang Sok was equally gracious in victory: "My players have never played in Europe before and to play so well against such a good and strong team as Germany, who were winners two years ago, has been a great experience for them. They will be better players for it."
Roared on by a boisterous travelling support, the Koreans took an immediate stranglehold on the match, with Romina Holz in the German goal called into action as early as the fourth minute to keep out a net-bound free-kick from Kim Kyong Hwa.
German comeback fails to materialise
Though their attacking play occasionally lacked subtlety, the pace and sheer energy of Choe's forwards regularly left the holders' defence stretched to breaking point, and on 20 minutes Holz was again required to come to the rescue to claw away a volley from Jong Pok Hui.
However, while the Germans were facing a dangerous, unknown quantity, having never before met the Koreans in competitive or friendly battle, Meinert's side were soon showing why they had gone into this game boasting an unblemished record against Asian opposition.
Leading the German charge were their lively wide players Fatmire Bajramaj and Simone Laudehr, whose probing helped fashion an opportunity for Lydia Neumann just after the half-hour mark, one which the 19-year-old blazed over under intense pressure from a posse of covering defenders.
However, this was an isolated moment of concern for the Koreans and it was impossible to begrudge them the opening goal when it arrived 10 minutes from half-time, Jong timing her run to perfection to volley home an inch-perfect cross from Kil Son Hui (1-0, 35').
It would have been just as difficult, in fact, to establish which of these sides was reigning world champions , and the balance of first half play doubtless left Meinert to impart some stern words to her charges during the half-time interval. Whatever she said, it appeared initially to have the desired affect because, within four minutes of the re-start, Jon Myung Hui was called into her first save of note, diving bravely at the feet of Laudehr after initially fumbling a header from Celia Okoyino da Mbabi.
Yet the Germans could, and almost certainly should, have found themselves two goals down just a few minutes later when, but for the fact that O Kum Hui seemed to trip up on the ball when unmarked 10 yards from goal, the Korean substitute would surely have doubled her side's advantage.
As it was, having weathered an early storm of German attacks, Choe's tireless team continued to ensure that Holz was the busier of the two keepers, and the goal that put them 2-0 up in the 70th minute was again no more than they deserved. O Kum had, in fact, had the ball in the net just seconds earlier only for play to be called back for an earlier foul, but there was no question of the referee's whistle sounding for a second time when Jo Yun Mi stepped beautifully inside Laudehr to smash home a low, left-foot drive, sealing a memorable and unexpected win (2-0, 70').
Player of the match: KIL SON HUI (PRK)
"She created a lot of play in the match and provided the passes for both goals. She put a lot of pressure on the German defence, and even if there were a lot of Korean players who showed good skills, for me, she was the best," Marika Domanski-Lyfors (SWE), FIFA Tecnichal Study Group .