The two nations that contested the final of the Women's Olympic football tournament were expected to be among the early pacesetters in New Zealand, but both were upset on the opening day. The USA went down 3-2 to Japan despite taking an early lead, and Brazil were beaten 3-0 by a resilient English side, the Auriverde girls losing two key players to injury in the process. On Sunday, up against Paraguay and Korea Republic respectively, the two heavyweights will seek to restore their reputations.
When Japan conceded a soft goal after three minutes against Kaz Tambi's American hopefuls in Hamilton, it looked like the match would follow the form book. But the Young Nadeshiko surprised everyone with their slick movement and clinical finishing to pull off a notable 3-2 win against the CONCACAF champions. Now the USA face a Paraguay team who were crushed by a hail of French goals on Thursday.
Defeat for either side would probably result in elimination from the competition, and there will be no quarter given in the all-American duel. Paraguay, to their chagrin, will be without Jacqueline Gonzalez, whose brilliant free-kick gave her team one of their two goals against France; the Albirroja No6 was sent off later in the game and will miss Sunday's match.
Brazil are another side who may be without key players against Korea Republic. No10 Beatriz and first-choice goalkeeper Aline both suffered injuries in their first-up loss to England, to add to coach Marcos Gaspar's worries. Korea Republic are still sweating on the fitness of their talismanic No10 Ji So-Yun, who was introduced earlier than expected against Nigeria, but is unlikely to start against the Brazilians.
The Group C summit clash brings together two teams who will be full of confidence; France scored more goals than any other team in their opening encounter, and Japan came from behind to topple one of the favourites. A win for either would almost certainly secure a place in the quarter-finals, so a free-flowing afternoon's football is in prospect in Hamilton.
The two first-up winners from Group D go head-to-head as well, with England taking on Nigeria. England will be looking to two-goal hero Danielle Carter for inspiration against the African champions, who will be hoping to avoid the overly windy conditions which they have found anathema thus far.
2 - the number of goals conceded by the USA in their entire qualifying competition in Trinidad and Tobago. They have conceded more goals already after only one game at New Zealand 2008.
What they said
"I think we must work hard on our weaknesses before our next match, because Japan will be a much tougher test. I watched their match against USA and they are a very good team who play beautiful football," Gerard Sergent, France coach.
All the fixtures