Germany grind out win over Ghana
European champions Germany began their FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup with a hard-fought victory over Ghana.
The African side began the brighter, with Fatima Al-Hassan forced Merle Frohms into her first notable save of the day, tipping her header round the post after ten minutes.
However, just three minutes later the Africans were behind. Great work by captain Sara Daebritz down the left saw her pick out Venus El-Kassam. Her header was saved but Victoria Adyei could do nothing about Vivien Beil's follow-up.
It was two before 20 minutes had been played, Pauline Bremer taking the ball down on her thigh at the edge of the box before prodding it past Adyei.
With a two-goal cushion Germany solidified and looked more composed, eliminating the spaces Ghana exploited early on. The pace of the game suffered as a result.
Ghana came out fighting after the break, with Jane Ayieyam getting behind the German backline only to see her shot flash wide of the post. Sherifatu Sumalia, who was outstanding throughout, almost scored a stunning goal from 40-yards with a vicious freekick that Frohms palmed over.
Ghana finally broke through though, as Frohms was called into action again diving at the feet of Ayieyam. However Issaka collected the loose ball on the left wing, before a neat turn allowed her to square to Ayieyam who slotted in. Germany held out though to begin Azerbaijan 2012 with a win.
"I thought it was a very, very close game. Both teams had a chance to win, but we were very effective – we scored with our first two chances to get a 2-0 lead. We didn't perform very well towards the end and can play much better.” Anouschka Bernhard, Germany coach