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USA down Germany to kick off women’s football SheBelieves Cup

Los Angeles (AFP) – The United States launched their 2017 season with a 1-0 victory over Germany on Wednesday in a duel of FIFA’s top-ranked women’s teams in the SheBelieves Cup women’s tournament.

Lynn Williams scored in the 56th minute to give the United States the victory in the second match of a double-header in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

France seized an injury-time winner to defeat England 2-1 in the curtain-raiser.

In addition to being ranked one and two by FIFA, the United States and Germany have won the last two major women’s trophies. The USA are the defending World Cup champions while Germany earned gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

A conservative first half saw the teams reach the interval scoreless, but things opened up in the second half.

Christen Press set up the US goal, stealing the ball from German defender Isabel Kerschowski.

Her shot came off the crossbar, but teammate Tobin Heath corralled the rebound. Heath’s shot was blocked by Kerschowski, but the ball landed in front of Williams who notched the second international goal of her career.

“I happened to be there at the right time,” said Williams, a 23-year-old who is one of the rising players expected to be key for US coach Jill Ellis as the Americans build toward the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

In the opening match, Marie-Laure Delie’s 80th-minute header pulled France level and five minutes into injury time substitute Wendie Renard produced the winner, her header bouncing over England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley.

England had taken a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute with a low blast from Jordan Nobbs.

Action in the tournament featuring four of the top-five teams in the FIFA world rankings resumes on Saturday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, when France face Germany and the United States take on England.

For the European teams, the tournament is a tune-up for the UEFA Women’s Euro in the Netherlands in July.

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