Team USA’s biggest threat in World Cup looked not so threatening at times. Here’s why

The defending champion United States doesn’t begin its 2019 Women’s World Cup run until Tuesday, but it got a look at one of its biggest threats in the tournament Saturday.

Germany, which is ranked No. 2 in the world behind the top-ranked United States, struggled at times in its first World Cup match. But ultimately, Germany found a way to escape with a 1-0 win against China on Saturday to open Group B action in Rennes, France.

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China had plenty of chances — especially in the first half — but could not find the back of the net. Instead, it was Germany that broke the scoreless tie with a goal from 19-year-old Giulia Gwinn in the 66th minute.

A potential matchup between Germany and the United States won’t happen until later in the tournament. The Germans won the 2003 and 2007 World Cups and won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but lost to the United States in the 2015 World Cup semifinals and lost in the quarterfinals at the 2017 European championship.

Next up for Germany is its second match of the group stage, which comes against Spain on Wednesday at noon EST. Spain begins its World Cup run Saturday at Noon EST against South Africa.

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Anthony Chiang covers the Miami Heat for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and was born and raised in Miami.