As they gear up for their second tournament assignments on Thursday, each of the Group C and D sides beaten the first time out will be targeting victory against a team already boasting three points.
In New Zealand’s case, that will mean plotting a win against Spain at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, where Japan will face the same challenge against Venezuela three hours later. Several kilometres away at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima, the Republic of Ireland will aim to bounce back from their loss to Brazil when they take on Canada, while Ghana’s mission will be to overcome the ever-dangerous Seleção.
Match of the day
Republic of Ireland-Canada, Larry Gomes Stadium, 16.00
They may have experienced differing fortunes, but both the Irish and Canada impressed with their combative qualities during their opening fixtures at Trinidad and Tobago 2010. In the European side’s case, that meant playing with maximum commitment against Brazil, launching themselves into every tackle before their opponents’ technical superiority eventually told in a slender 2-1 loss. That match was then followed by a similarly dynamic display from Canada, who saw off Ghana 1-0 in an epic encounter, so there ought to be commitment aplenty when the Group D rivals lock horns with much at stake. Indeed, 2010 European U-17 runners-up Ireland know victory is essential as they set out to claim a place in the knockout phase.
The other matches
Let down by wayward finishing and bad luck against Canada, Ghana need an injection of confidence as they prepare to take on Group D titans Brazil. The South American champions kicked off with a win over Ireland that was shot through with quality, and they are determined to avoid the fate of their predecessors at New Zealand 2008, who fell at the first hurdle following a 3-0 loss to England and a 2-1 defeat by Korea Republic.
In Group C, European title-holders Spain have their hearts set on a second consecutive triumph, with New Zealand next in their sights after Japan were dispatched 4-1. Las Rojitas were not at their best in that game but they posted the result they wanted, in contrast to the young Football Ferns, who impressed on their way to a 2-1 setback against tournament newcomers Venezuela.
The meeting between the two teams should therefore conjure up a few surprises, ahead of the game pitting the young Nadeshiko and La Vinotinto. Venezuela have already made history by sealing their maiden success in a FIFA women’s tournament and they will be eager to record another achievement by reaching the quarter-finals. To do that, they will need to see off a Japan side that graced the last eight two years ago.
What they said
"Japan are a very good team and very quick. They’ve already proved themselves in women’s football. We’ll make a few changes, but overall I’m confident our playing philosophy will make the difference,” Kenneth Zseremeta, Venezuela coach.
The fixtures (all local time)
New Zealand-Spain (Ato Boldon Stadium) - 16.00
Japan-Venezuela (Ato Boldon Stadium) - 19.00
Republic of Ireland-Canada (Larry Gomes Stadium) - 16.00
Ghana-Brazil (Larry Gomes Stadium) - 19.00