Germany defeated Zimbabwe 6-1 in Group F in Sao Paulo but not after the African side put in a resilient display in their first ever Women's Olympic Football Tournament match.
Germany demonstrated they could handle the pressure of being strong favourites and took the lead in the 22nd minute when Sara Daebritz leapt in the air and scored a firm header from a corner kick. The majority of the crowd were giving their support to the debutants, who started brightly with high energy and sharp passing, but eventually Germany found the breakthrough they needed.
The Germans extended their lead, again with a header, thanks to Alexandra Popp. Melanie Leupolz, who substituted in for the injured Simone Laudehr, crossed from the right and found Popp, who headed in another powerful shot to give her team a deserved lead at the break.
The crowd went wild and the game was turned on its head five minutes after the restart when Kudakwashe Basopo scored Zimbabwe's first ever goal in the Women's Olympic Tournament. Rutendo Makore made a fine, individual run on the right wing before unleashing a shot that Germany goalkeeper Almuth Schult could not hold on to, and Basopo was there to pounce and get her team on the scoresheet.
However, Germany did not let the goal fluster them as Melanie Behringer scored a free-kick just three minutes later from almost 30 yards out. Her goal then gave Silvia Neid's side the boost they needed and Germany went on to score three more times late in the match.
Behringer added another, rebounded to score after a saved Leupolz penalty, Leupolz then got a goal herself before Eunice Chibanda scored an own goal to make it 6-1 on the night.
Germany will go up against Australia next on Saturday in Sao Paulo, while Zimbabwe will face Group F's other winners on the day, Canada.