Germany, France win on opening day of World Cup

June 26, 2011 - 3:15 PM
Germany Soccer Women's World Cup Germany Canada

Canada's Christine Sinclair, left, is congratulated by her teammate Sophie Schmidt after scoring their side's first goal during the group A match between Germany and Canada at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, June 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

SINSHEIM, Germany (AP) — On a great day for women's soccer, it was a good day for Europe's teams.

The World Cup started Sunday with two stadiums overflowing with goodwill, color and the cheer of nearly 100,000 fans — plus four goals, including one stunner.

Host Germany, the two-time defending champion, survived opening-game jitters to beat Canada 2-1 in Berlin and showed it is the team to beat. France won the opener against Nigeria 1-0 in Sinsheim to leave the continental neighbors in charge of Group A.

But beyond the games themselves, the upbeat spirit of the women's game stood out. Riding the goodwill of the crowds, the atmosphere approached that of the men's 2006 World Cup — also staged in Germany — even if the action rarely did.