Host France opens World Cup with a 4-0 win over South Korea
By ANNE M. PETERSON
AP Sports Writer
PARIS (AP) - France began the Women's World Cup the way it ended last year's men's tournament: with an emphatic victory.
Wendie Renard, at 6-foot-2 the tallest player in the tournament, scored a pair of headers off corner kicks, and Les Bleus overwhelmed South Korea 4-0 Friday night in a gala World Cup opener.
Eugénie Le Sommer and Amandine Henry also scored on a cool, windy night at Parc des Princes, the home of Paris Saint-Germain. French pop star Jain provided the pre-game entertainment for the sellout crowd of 45,261 fans.
France is vying to become the first nation to hold both the men's and women's World Cup titles at the same time. France's margin of victory was the largest in a Women's World Cup opener since China beat Norway by the same score at the first tournament in 1991.
Norway and Nigeria meet in the other Group A opener on Saturday. France faces Norway on Wednesday and Nigeria on June 17.
Four years ago, all nine teams that won their opener advanced from the 24-nation group stage to the round of 16.
France is hosting the tournament in a time when women' teams are increasingly their push for equal treatment from FIFA and other soccer governing bodies.
The world's fourth-ranked team wasn't tested by No. 14 South Korea. France had a 17-0 advantage in shots during the first half and 21-4 overall.
Les Bleus, eliminated by Germany on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals four years ago in Canada, applied pressure from the start on goalkeeper Kim Minjung.
Le Sommer scored in the ninth minute off a cross from Henry and held up her hands in the shape of a heart in celebration after the earliest goal in a Women's World Cup opener. South Korea has conceded the first goal in all eight World Cup it has played.
Griedge Mbock Bathy appeared to score in the 30th minute but the goal was disallowed in a video review, technology also used by FIFA at last year's men's tournament in Russia.
Renard doubled the lead in the 35th from Gaëtane Thiney's corner kick as the crowd chanted "Wendie! Wendie!"
She made it 3-0 from Amel Majri's corner kick in stoppage time with her 22nd international goal. Ten of her last 11 goals have come on headers.
Henry added a goal off a pass from Le Sommer in the 85th.
South Korea substitute Lee Mina had the best chance for her team on a breakaway in the 76th minute, but the shot went just wide.
Renard, selected player of the match, is among seven players on France's roster that play professionally for Lyon, which recently crushed Barcelona 4-1 to win the women's Champions League for the fourth straight year and sixth time overall.
Coach Corinne Diacre had surprised many when she left French league leading scorer Marie-Antoinette Katoto off her roster. The 20-year-old plays for PSG.
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