Germany edge champions' showdown
Germany have claimed the first win of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, beating Venezuela 2-1 in an evenly matched encounter in Irbid.
Giulia Gwinn proved to be the key player in this battle between the champions of South America and Europe, scoring one of the Germans' goals and laying on the other to give her team an early lead in Group B. The Bayern Munich youngster made her mark inside seven minutes of this encounter, scoring Jordan 2016's first goal with an opportunistic left-foot volley from 20 yards after a through ball had been deflected into her path.
Germany were well worth their lead in a disappointing opening 45 in which Venezuela and their star striker, Deyna Castellanos, failed to find their feet. Indeed, the Europeans very nearly doubled their lead on 24 minutes when Verena Wieder bulldozed her way through the Venezuelan defence only to be crowded out and forced into a wayward shot at the end of her powerful run.
Venezuela and Castellanos, top scorer at the 2014 U-17 Women's World Cup, finally came to life in the second half, with the powerful No9 crashing a 30-yard free-kick against the junction of post and crossbar shortly after the restart. The South Americans kept coming and got their reward just after the hour-mark, when 14-year-old Maria Cazorla - making her first competitive appearance for the team - volleyed home left-footed after Nikol Gonzalez's cross from the left had only been half-cleared.
But just as Venezuela were beginning to seem the likeliest winners, Germany struck again. This time goalscorer Gwinn turned creator, threading a lovely through pass for Klara Buehl, who obliged with a clinical right-foot shot under the advancing keeper.
Salt was then added to Venezuelan wounds three minutes from time when Sandra Luzardo earned a second yellow card for tripping substitute Lena Oberdorf, capping a disappointing opening match for the 2014 semi-finalists.
*Live Your Goals Player of the Match: Giulia Gwinn (GER)***