Watch all the key plays as the 2019 Women's World Cup opens with host nation France hosting South Korea.
After four years of build-up, France wasted little time in leaving its mark on the Women's World Cup it's hosting.
Les Bleues have high expectations and a goal of lifting the trophy on home soil, and they're off to a promising start by routing South Korea 4-0 in the opening match of Group A play at the Parc des Princes.
Led by a veteran, accomplished nucleus that includes Eugenie Le Sommer, Amandine Henry and Wendie Renard–who combined for all of the scoring Friday–France is one of the favorites to win it all. It settled for a disappointing quarterfinal exit in 2015, when it lost to Germany on penalty kicks, but it's back with a stronger and more motivated unit, and one that got right to it to secure its opening three points.
France threatened two minutes in through Henry, capping an impressive sequence that started in the back. Renard picked out Le Sommer with a pinpoint long diagonal to the left sideline. Le Sommer settled it for Henry, who found Kadidiatou Diani. The forward couldn't collect it to get a shot off, but Henry was there to curl a loose ball toward the goal, missing just wide right.
Le Sommer forced the first save of the match with a chance from the edge of the box, capping a quick piece of transition play down the center in the seventh minute.
Two minutes later, Le Sommer found the breakthrough. It started with a turnover in the Korea half of the field, and France was ruthless. Henry pounced and carried down the right-hand side. She found Le Sommer's run to the center of the box, and the Lyon star scored off the underside of the crossbar to give the hosts a 1-0 lead and the dream start they craved.
France appeared to have doubled its lead in the 27th minute, only for VAR to make its first intervention in the competition. Griedge Mbock Bathy turned in a gorgeous side volley after a header from fellow defender Renard off the corner kick, but a VAR review ruled that Bathy was offside by the slightest of margins, so the goal was overruled, and the score remained 1-0.
Renard wound up scoring France's second less than 10 minutes later. The towering center back headed home a corner kick in the 36th minute, giving Les Bleues the 2-0 lead they certainly deserved in a one-sided opening half.
Renard scored a second with the last touch of the half. It came off a corner from the other side of the field, but one that yielded the same result. Using size to her advantage, Renard headed home from the center of the box to make it 3-0.
France's dominance continued in the second half, even if it didn't add to its advantage. It remained dominant on the ball, keeping the run of play largely in the South Korea half and not conceding any clear chances to the visitors. That is, until the 76th minute. Renard allowed substitute Lee-Mi Na in behind, but she pulled her right-footed chance wide of the goal, failing to test goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi.
Any positive momentum South Korea was building went by the wayside soon after. Henry put an exclamation point on the match with a right-footed stunner from 20 yards, curling one into the far netting to give France an unassailable 4-0 lead in the 85th minute.
Here were the lineups for both sides:
Group A play continues on Saturday, as Norway faces Nigeria. Group B also gets going on Saturday, with Germany facing China and Spain squaring off with South Africa.