Continental queens take a bow

Day 2 of the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup sees European champions Spain take centre-stage against the Japanese in Couva. In other Group C action New Zealand will begin against South American debutants Venezuela while Group D gets underway with an intriguing encounter between Republic of Ireland and favourites and South American champions Brazil.

Match of the day
Republic of Ireland - Brazil (Larry Gomes Stadium) - 16.00
Brazil are among the traditional powers in the world of women’s football, and they will be out to avenge their ignominious failure to reach the quarter-finals at the inaugural U-17 finals in New Zealand two years ago. However, the Irish arrive in Trinidad and Tobago having put paid to mighty Germany and they were only just pipped to a first-ever European women’s title after losing a shootout to Spain. With such tricky group-mates as Canada and Ghana laying in wait, the winner of this intriguing opening tussle will have done themselves a world of good.

The other matches
Canada arrive with a fearsome reputation after eliminating the much-feared United States in the preliminary rounds. Bryan Rosenfeld’s charges will be hoping to go at least one step beyond their quarter-final run in New Zealand, and the coach thinks that his “flexible and tactically adaptable” team have what it takes to navigate the tough group. Their opponent in the opening game, Ghana, will be no pushovers and are eager to “keep getting better,” according to coach Abraham Allotey.

Group C opens with reigning European champions Spain taking on Japan. Known for their short-passing game and smooth touch on the ball, the Japanese – third-place finishers in the Asian zone – will have their work cut out against the Spanish, who scored 36 goals while conceding just three in the qualifiers. Also in Group C, New Zealand – who went out in the group stage as hosts in 2008 - will open against Venezuela, debutantes at this level hoping to make a big splash. “We’re not here just to make up the numbers,” Kenneth Zseremeta, the Vinotinto’s coach told FIFA.com.

The stat
41 -
The number of goals scored by South American champions Brazil in their six qualifying games for Trinidad and Tobago 2010. Paula and Glaucia topped the scoring tables with seven goals apiece as the Brazilians scored more than any other side in the global qualifying competitions.  

What they said
“Certainly when you knock out a powerhouse like the USA, the pressure on you becomes greater. It also means that the teams here in Trinidad and Tobago will have to respect us.” Canada coach Bryan Rosenfeld to FIFA.com.

The fixtures (all local time)
New ZealandVenezuela (Ato Boldon Stadium) - 16.00
SpainJapan (Ato Boldon Stadium) - 19.00
Republic of Ireland - Brazil (Larry Gomes Stadium) - 16.00
Canada - Ghana (Larry Gomes Stadium) 19.00