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Women’s World Cup: Spain’s controversial comeback, Germany wins

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The first full day of Women’s World Cup action brought plenty of fireworks, some controversy, and great goals as well Group A and B begin to take shape. Here’s a recap of the action on the day as three European sides emerged victorious over Asian and African opponents in France.

Germany 1-0 China

China put up a fight, but wastefulness in the final third was their undoing as 19-year-old Giulia Gwinn scored a 66th minute winner to see Germany secure all three points. Germany struggled to put shots on target, ripping off 18 shots and only able to put five on target, but defensively they remained strong. China was plucky, but they failed to finish off opportunities, only able to put four shots together throughout the match.

Gwinn arrived at the key moment for Germany, delivering a scorching strike to win the match and becoming the first German teenager in 20 years to score a Women’s World Cup goal.

China had opportunities, the best of which came just before halftime when Yang Li struck the post before Germany goalkeeper Almuth Schult arrived to snuff out any danger. The loss is a disappointment for China who may have felt they were up to the task, but the performance is still positive overall headed into games against Spain and South Africa where they will feel confident after challenging Germany closely. Germany is unbeaten in 13 matches, the longest current streak of any Women’s World Cup participant.

Spain 3-1 South Africa

Spain looked shaky in the first half seeing South Africa go in front 25 minutes in via Thembi Kgatlana, but the European side was the recipient of a pair of controversial VAR decisions to propel them in front after halftime. The first came with 20 minutes to go as a Spain cross caught Janine Van Wyk in the arm as she turned away, with a penalty given after a VAR check. Jennifer Hermoso dispatched the spot-kick to draw the two sides level.

The second and far more controversial decision happened with just seven minutes remaining as a VAR check determined that Nothando Vilakazi followed through a clear dangerously, slamming her spikes into the groin of Lucia Garcia. That resulted in both a penalty and a sending-off, and Hermoso was there again to deposit the chance for her second of the day and a Spain lead.

With Spain in front and South Africa down a player, Garcia scored a third and put the game away, sneaking behind the defense and latching onto a long-ball to give Spain a 3-1 lead.

Norway 3-0 Nigeria

For at least one match, Norway didn’t miss Ada Hegerberg as an end-to-end saw the European side clinical with goals from Guro Reiten and Lisa-Marie Utland before halftime, with an own-goal from Osinachi Ohale capping off the wild first 45 minutes. Both sides had big chances, but Norway was the one to capitalize as Nigeria couldn’t find a way through, with Norwegian defender Maren Mjelde on hand to snuff out a big early Nigerian chance on the break and the back line again holding firm just before the break in a wild scrum.

There was a lengthy delay soon after the start of the second half as Nigerian defender Faith Ikidi was stretchered off after a collision with her goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi. Nigeria settled in a bit through the second half but failed to find a breakthrough and Norway cruised to victory.

Watford chasing Rennes, Senegal star Sarr

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Watford may capture one of the rising stars of the game.

Ismaila Sarr would cost the Hornets a club transfer record fee, and Sky Sports says that Watford and Rennes are about $10 million apart.

The Ligue 1 side reportedly wants $34 million for the Senegal national team right wing.

[ VIDEO: Nketiah leads Arsenal win ]

Sarr, 21, scored a goal and an assist in Senegal’s run to the Africa Cup of Nations final, playing opposite Sadio Mane of Liverpool.

He posted 13 goals with 14 assists last season between Ligue 1, the French Cup, and the Europa League. He was the lone Rennes player to score against Arsenal in the UEL Round of 16.

Watford has held onto Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dodi Lukebakio this offseason. Lukebakio is also a 21-year-old right wing, and had a sensational loan season with Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2019-20.

Nketiah leads Arsenal past Fiorentina (video)

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Eddie Nketiah scored twice as Arsenal beat Fiorentina 3-0 in Charlotte on Saturday.

Joe Willock also scored for the Gunners, which beat Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich in their first two matches of the preseason and meet Real Madrid in Maryland on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]

Fiorentina took 18 of the match’s 30 shots, though Arsenal had nearly 60 percent of the ball.

Nketiah, 20, scored against Burnley in last season’s Premier League finale and then late against Bayern Munich earlier this week.

He was deft in a high-pressure spot for this one.

Premier League friendlies: Watford beats Bayer, Man Utd over Inter

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Arsenal and Fiorentina are set to kickoff in Charlotte tonight, with the Gunners the last of a bevy of Premier League sides to engage in preseason friendlies this muggy Saturday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]


Girona 1-2 Bournemouth

Juanpe’s late header pushed La Liga’s hosts past Eddie Howe and his 10-man Cherries, playing down after VAR deemed Jack Simpson‘s foul worthy of a sending off. Ryan Fraser scored Bournemouth’s goal, assisted by Jordon Ibe.

Northampton Town 0-4 Sheffield United

Oliver Norwood converted two penalties in an easy win for Chris Wilder in his return to a club he played for and managed.

Fulham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

Pascal Gross scored with an early free kick — a Megan Rapinoe special — but Tom Cairney scored twice after halftime for the Championship side.

Cheltenham Town 1-2 Leicester City

The Foxes collected a second win over a lower league side this week, with Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton on the board.

Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham United (Shanghai)

New manager Steve Bruce watched from the crowd as the Magpies made amends for a 4-0 loss to Wolves by blanking West Ham. Jamie Sterry‘s cross for Yoshinori Muto was delightful, and the Japanese striker’s finish was well-taken.

Port Vale 1-3 Burnley; Crewe Alexandra 0-1 Burnley

Chris Wood, Matej Vydra and Robbie Brady scored as the Clarets overcame an early Nick Pope goal to beat Port Vale, but the Premier League side couldn’t do much in a simultaneous friendly at Crewe.

Inter Milan 0-1 Manchester United (Singapore)

Substitute forward Mason Greenwood, just 17, scored the late goal in a match United controlled, outshooting Inter 21-8.

Preston North End 1-3 Southampton

Brace-bagging Danny Ings doesn’t usually have a problem with finish, so passing the ball directly to him is not something we’d recommend to goalkeepers. Jake Vokins also scored for Saints at Deepdale.

Watford 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Will Hughes and Andre Gray scored as the Hornets collected a win over Champions League competition.

Man City (0-0, 2-3 pens) Wolves (Shanghai)

Rui Patricio was very good over 90 minutes, and stopped City’s first two penalty attempts as Wolves continue to perplex the PL champions.

WATCH: Marco Fabian smashes set piece goal

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Marco Fabian sent a missile toward goal, and perhaps it’s good the goalkeeper didn’t get to the hand-breaking shot.

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead over Chicago on Saturday in Chester, Pennsylvania, thanks to the Mexican midfielder.

[ REPORT: Man Utd locks up De Gea ]

It was a pretty set piece from Jim Curtin’s men, a backwards played free kick was laid off to Fabian for his audacious rip.

Fabian hasn’t had a wonderful 2019 season, but his fourth goal of the season will give Union supporters hope that he’ll pick up his form and make the already East-leading side all the more dangerous.