Two-time World Champions Germany were too good for the debutant Morocco in their first match of Group H of the FIFA Women's World Cup. They defeated Morocco by 6-0 as they registered the biggest win of the Women's World Cup surpassing Japan's victory over Zambia. Captain Alexandra Popp scored two goals in the first half as her partnership with Klara Buehl was just excellent for them. Buehl herself scored one goal and assisted before getting subbed off in the 64th minute. Two own goals from Morocco did not help themselves as well. They would certainly have to forget this match as quickly as possible and move on to the next one. Read about moments from the Germany vs Morocco match on our LIVE blog below the match report.
As expected Die Nationalelf started with a high-pressing game from the word go. With a 4-2-3-1 formation and Popp leading the attack, it was about the time when they scored their first goal. And, it happened quite quickly as well. Popp headed the ball into the goal in the 11th minute of the match. A beautiful cross from Kathrin Hendrich found Popp who scored the quickest goal of the Women's World Cup so far.
It was once again Alexandra Popp who found herself on the scoresheet in the 39th minute, this time benefiting from an assist by her partner in crime, Kalara Buehl. With her 64th goal for Germany, she has now equalled the record for the third-highest number of goals scored for the national team. In the first half, there was little to discuss regarding Morocco, except for one or two isolated incidents. Captain Ghizlane Chebbak attempted a shot from outside the box in the 23rd minute, which was on target but ultimately an easy save for Merle Frohms, Germany's number one goalkeeper.
Germany dealt a blow to Morocco's hopes of a second-half comeback when Kalara Buehl scored a mere 23 seconds after the restart. Lina Magull's shot kissed the crossbar before falling to Buehl, who calmly slotted it home, notching the third goal for Germany.
Post that goal, everything involved the Atlas Lionesses as first they were denied their first-ever World Cup goal by an offside flag, in the 52nd minute of the game. Then, in another unfortunate event, Hanane Ait-El-haj scored an own goal to increase the lead to 4-0 for Germany. Zineb Redouani's own goal then made it 5-0. Alexandra Popp tried to make that her fourth World Cup hat-trick, but the replay confirmed that it was an own goal from the Moroccan defender.
In the 90th minute, German Player of the Year Lea Schueller then made it 6-0 for them as they registered the biggest win of the FIFA Women's World Cup so far.
Alexandra Popp appears to have a strong preference for playing against African nations. She has scored a total of five goals in the FIFA Women's World Cup, and interestingly, all of them have been against teams from Africa. Specifically, she scored against Côte d'Ivoire in 2015, South Africa and Nigeria in 2019, and now against Morocco twice in 2023.
"We're super happy we were able to play like this in our opening match. It's always difficult because you don't really know where you stand or how your opponent will play. But we were able to impose our game. To have this kind of atmosphere in a stadium like this, that's what a World Cup is al about. It pushes you, the fans carry you. It's so fun to play football like this."Alexandra Popp after the match.
Kick-off: 2.00 pm (local time)
Date: 24 July 2023
Venue: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne, Australia
The Germans have shown exceptional dominance in their group-stage matches throughout the tournament. Out of the 24 matches they have played, they have only suffered a single defeat. With an impressive record of 15 wins and four draws in their 19 group outings since their last loss against Sweden in 1995, their performance speaks for itself. It's worth noting that in seven out of their eight appearances at the finals, they have emerged victorious in their opening fixture. The only exception was a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Italy in 1999.
Meanwhile, Morocco earned their place at the finals courtesy of their exploits at the 2022 Women's Africa Cup of Nations, where they finished runners-up to South Africa. Ghizlane Chebbak captained the team at the continental competition, playing a pivotal role in their run to the final en route to claiming the Player of the Tournament crown.
Lineup: Germany | Merle Frohms, Kathrin Hendrich, Svenja Huth, Alexandra Popp (C), Sara Daebritz, Felicitas Rauch, Melanie Leupolz, Klara Buehl, Lina Magull, Jule Brand, Sara Doorsoun
Lineup: Morocco | Khadija Er-Rmichi, Zineb Redouani, Sarah Kassi, Eoldie Nakkach, Ghizlane Chebbak (C), Fatima Tagnaout, Anissa Lahmari, Hanane Ait-El-haj, Sakina Ouzraoui, Yasmin Mrbet, Rosella Ayane
Here we GO! Germany in their whites from left to right and Morocco in reds who will attack from right to left of the screen!
An early free-kick for the Germans, from the edge of the box. Klara Buehl takes the free-kick and shoots it wide.
Germany starts with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Captain Popp leading the attack. Meanwhile, Morcco, Lahmari and Ayane are the forwards who will be looking to score their first-ever World Cup goal.
An early goal from the captain Alexandra Popp. It is her 63rd international goal for the Die Nationalelf. A beautiful cross from Kathrin Hendrich from the right and Popp heads it into the goal for the quickest goal of this Women's World Cup.
A miss from the Germans and Morocco nearly took advantage of it. However, Rosella Ayane was off-side on that occasion.
Captain Ghizlane Chebbak takes the first on-target shot for Morocco. A long-range shot from outside of the box. Merle Frohms makes her first save of the match.
A very tidy finish by Sara Daebritz who was just off-side as the goal gets declined.
Germany double their lead with another header from captain Alexandra Popp. It might have got a touch from one of the Moroccan defenders. But, nevertheless, it is 2-0 for Die Nationalelf.
Rosella Ayane was nearly one-to-one against German No.1. She miscues everything. Although it was off-side, it was a great play from the Moroccan strikers.
3 additional minutes to the first half!
A comfortable first half for the Die Nationalelf. Two goals for the German captain who scored her 63rd and 64th goal for the National team. The Atlas Lionesses were not able to put much resistance to German pressings. However, a few chances for them as well would surely make them feel good when they come back in the second half.
Just 23 seconds after the start of the second half, Germany makes it 3-0. It is Klara Buehl who found Lina Magull whose shot deflecting from the bar came to Buehl who tapped in for the third goal for Germany.
A left-footed shot from the Moroccan captain from outside the box. Straight into the hands of Merle Frohms.
Anissa Lahmari scoops it over the goalie for a goal but is offside.
An unfortunate event for Morocco. Hanane Ait-El-haj deflects the ball in her own goal while trying to clear the ball.
Lina Magull, Klara Buehl and Melanie Leupolz are replaced by Lea Schueller, Nicole Anyomi and Lena Lattwein.
Rauch takes a shot but it was over the goal. Perhaps, she took too much time to shoot the ball.
Germany have a fifth goal. It is another own goal from Morocco. The ball goes in from Zineb Redouani's deflection. Certainly, it is not their day.
Another goal for Die Nationalelf. Lena Lattwein's cross was first saved by Khadija Er-Rmichi. But
Lea Schueller was there to send the deflected ball into the goal.
Lea Schueller was found off-side on this occasion as her goal gets cancelled.
Chebbak again with another attack for Morocco but not good enough to beat Merle Frohms in the goal.
The biggest win so far in the FIFA Women's World Cup. The two-time world champions were just too good for the debutants. It will be a huge learning for the Moroccan team to face their next opponents.