Curtain call in the Caribbean
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The stage is set for 5 September’s big kick-off here at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010. Getting the ball rolling will be 2008 champions Korea DPR against African contenders Nigeria, a game which will be followed by the official opening ceremony at the Hasely Crawford Stadium – during which more than 50 performers will add their colour and flair to the start of the showpiece event. Shouldering the main burden for this enticing spectacle will be dance group Shiv Shakit and well-known producer Rosalind Gabriel, with the aim of faithfully representing the best that Trinidad and Tobago art, culture, music and dance has to offer.

The big match
Nigeria-Korea DPR (Hasely Crawford Stadium) - 15:00
A genuine force to be reckoned with on the women’s scene, how will Korea DPR’s class of 2010 go about defending the trophy won by their predecessors on New Zealand soil two years ago? First up is a tough test against a powerful Nigerian side, not that North Korean coach Ri Song-Gun seems particularly perturbed: “All our players are focusing on is picking up the win and sending a victory message to the people back home.”

The other matches
Following hot on the heels of the opening ceremony comes the host nation’s meeting with Chile. Though weakened by the loss of key defender Camille Borneo, missing due to a knee ligament injury, Even Pellerud’s charges remain high in confidence after a successful pre-tournament build-up.

Their Chilean opponents are equally determined to rain on the hosts’ parade, as voiced by Las Rojitas’ midfielder Fernanda Pinilla. “We know it’s an important game and it’s vital to kick off with a win,” said Pinilla. “We’re all really keen to get started and put all our effort and hard work to good use out on the pitch.”

The first match on the island of Tobago will be Germany-Mexico, with the cream of the German U-17 crop surely buoyed by their countrywomen’s recent triumph at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Las Aztecas, for their part, will be determined to keep any opening-match nerves in check and belie their relative lack of pedigree in the women’s game by springing a big surprise.

Rounding off the day’s action will be tournament debutants South Africa who pit their wits against reigning Asian champions Korea Republic. Clearly unconcerned by her charges’ lack of experience, Bantwana coach Solly Luvhengo has told that South Africa are “keen to make a splash”.

The stat
0 – Nigeria have never failed to appear at a FIFA women’s tournament and the girls in green will continue that impressive tradition at Trinidad and Tobago 2010.

What they said…
“We’re aware of just who we’ll be up against, but we’re not in awe of any opponents – however strong they are. We know that after the work we’ve put in we’re capable of getting good results,” Mexico defender Anakaren Llamas.

The fixtures (all local time)
Nigeria-Korea DPR (Hasely Crawford Stadium) - 15:00
Germany-Mexico (Dwight Yorke Stadium) - 16:00
Trinidad and Tobago-Chile (Hasely Crawford Stadium) - 18:00
South Africa-Korea Republic (Dwight Yorke Stadium) - 19:00