In what looked like a lop-sided goal-scoring show, FIFA's top-ranked Germany opened the women's soccer Olympic tournament with a surprising 8-0 win over China in the group F match in Patras, Greece on Wednesday.
Striker Birgit Prinz, who opened the account 13 minutes into the match, showed her superb skill and confidence with four goals.
Prinz staged her solo show when she headed home a pass off a cross from Stegemann Kerstin. Over 10 minutes later, the two Germans, duplicated their dual tricks: a cross by Kerstin and a header by Prinze.
"After losing two goals in the first half, we should have formed a better defense line, but unfortunately my attacking strategy proved to be s mistake," said Zhang Haitao, head coach of the Chinese team.
"What the Chinese side lacked is their attacking," German coach Theune-Meyer said.
A loose defense line seemed to have made the Chinese goal an vulnerable target, when Prinze, with two headers to her credit, shot home two more goals, and her teammates added four more.
The Chinese did produce a few scares in front of the German goalmouth, but ended fruitless for the lack of a strong finishing touch.
Bronze medallist at the Sydney Games 2000, Germany is widely seen as one of the hottest favorites, while China, fifth-place finisher in the last Olympic Games, targeted for a semi-final chance in Greece.
German, who was voted the Most Entertaining Team of the 2003 World Cup by FiFA World Cup web users, presented a dazzling coordination in front of China's goal, while the Chinese also had five members named into the All-Star Team at the World Cup tournament.
The Germans, spearheaded by 26-year-old Prinz, winner of the Golden Ball for best player and Golden Shoe for top scorer at the 2003 World Cup, are known for their stamina and all-out attacking strategy.
(Xinhua News Agency August 11, 2004)