COLUMBUS, Ohio — Canada seized the early edge in Saturday's Women's World Cup opener, but it seemed just a matter of time before a more aggressive German team took command.
And in the 39th minute, it all started to unravel.
German captain Bettina Wiegmann tied the score on a penalty kick late in the first half and three other teammates added second-half goals on the way to a 4-1 victory at Crew Stadium.
"Our confidence went down after [Wiegmann's] tying goal," said Canada Coach Even Pellerud, whose team remains winless (0-5-2) in three World Cup appearances. "They were able to expose us on both the flanks and in the middle ... and they moved the ball quicker than our players are used to."
At halftime, Pellerud shored up the midfield to slow the German attack. It didn't work: Germany quickly seized the lead in the 46th minute and never looked back.
Things looked promising at the outset as Canadian forward Christine Sinclair struck just before the three-minute mark. Midfielder Kristina Kiss lofted a feed from the right sideline toward the German net and Sinclair, a 20-year-old from British Columbia, headed the ball into the left corner.
German forward Birgit Prinz narrowly missed an equalizer in the 19th minute when she slipped on an open attempt on Canadian goalie Karina LeBlanc and shot wide. Defender Stefanie Gottschlich had a similar opportunity in the 28th minute, but Canadian veteran Charmaine Hooper swooped in to kick the shot away.
But 11 minutes later, Hooper was assessed a yellow card in the goal box for a hand ball, and Germany was awarded a penalty kick. Wiegmann sent the shot to LeBlanc's left to tie the score.
Japan 6, Argentina 0 -- The Japanese routed Argentina at Crew Stadium as star midfielder Homare Sawa scored two first-half goals and forward Mio Otani added a second-half hat trick.
"I'm very satisfied with the result," Coach Eiji Ueda said. "We focused on good defense, stealing the ball and attacking from the sideline, and we did well."
Japan's statistical edge was overwhelming as it outshot Argentina 29-4 and had 21 shots on goal. The Argentines managed just one on goalie Nozomi Yamago.