Tipped as one of the potential winners the FIFA Women's U-17 World Cup New Zealand 2008, Germany make their bow on Day 2 of the tournament. Lining up against the European champions are Costa Rica, who are entertaining hopes of a surprise win in this, their first-ever match at a FIFA women's finals. Rounding off the day's programme are a brace of encounters between of the tournament's dark horses: Denmark-Colombia and Korea DPR-Ghana.
No matter the competition or the age group, there are some national sides who always figure among the favourites. Germany are one such team and when it comes to the women's game, few nations can match their status and reputation. Crowned as inaugural UEFA U-17 Women's European champions in May this year, Ralf Peter's youngsters are aiming to complete a unique double in New Zealand.
The first hurdle facing the Germans looks to be an awkward one, however. Juan Diego Quesada's Costa Rica side have been improving steadily, and after denying Mexico a place in the finals by finishing second in the CONCACAF qualifying competition, the Ticas are determined to pull off an even bigger coup.
The other match in Group B pits Korea DPR against Ghana in an exciting tie between two sides known for their mental and physical strengths. The Asians booked their ticket to New Zealand way back in March 2007 and perhaps have the edge in terms of preparation. The Africans, however, showed fantastic character to bounce back from a seemingly impossible position to take their place at this tournament, and are sure to prove formidable opponents.
After Tuesday's tournament opener between New Zealand and Canada, Denmark and Colombia complete the first round of games in Group A in an intriguing clash of styles. The Cafeteritas will be hoping their technique and speed can win the day against the hard-running, well-drilled Scandinavians. In what is expected to be a very tightly contested section, every point will be vital.
12 years, ten months is the tender age at which Ghana defender Ellen Coleman has arrived at this tournament. Ellen, who plays for club side Ghatel Ladies Accra, is set to become the youngest player ever to take part in a FIFA competition, beating the previous record set by Souleyman Maman, who was exactly one year older when he appeared for Togo in a qualifying match for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™.
What they said
"In this age category, every team plays with more or less the same tactics and it's the mental aspect that makes the difference." Colombia coach Pedro Ignacio Rodriguez.