Strong starts key for Ticos, Kiwis

Both Costa Rica and New Zealand will be desperate to open strongly and claim maximum points with further tough Group D challenges ahead. Costa Rica only edged into the tournament on goal difference but they, like the New Zealanders, have spent a significant amount of time together during 2009 so team cohesion should not be a problem in the white-hot heat of global competition.

The game
Costa Rica-New Zealand, Enugu, Sunday 25 October, 19:00 (local time)

The stakes
With the group also containing Turkey and African achievers Burkina Faso, the result of this match will be viewed as critical by both sides. The Costa Ricans have enjoyed a solid preparation with regular camps, plus they have undertaken two recent tours of South America. The Tico midfield combinations are expected to be key with core players such as Juan Golobio, Deiver Vega and Yeltsin Tejeda all playing together for domestic superclub Deportivo Saprissa.

While history is not on their side, the new generation of New Zealanders arrive in Nigeria with an understated confidence. Like their opening match opponents, the Young All Whites have spent a considerable amount of time together, having played a full season in a senior regional competition. New Zealand's only men's FIFA competition win across 27 matches came at this level on home soil back in 1999, but the this young side are optimistic of improving on that record at Nigeria 2009.

The stat
- Costa Rica's strong track record at the FIFA U-17 World Cup has them appearing in their fifth consecutive tournament. The young Ticos credentials include three consecutive quarter-final showings between (2001, 2003 and 2005).

The words
"Our primary objective is to develop players, but of course we are here to win the World Cup. We know this will be hard to achieve but it is what we are aiming for," Juan Diego Quesada, Costa Rica coach.

"We are not going to make up the numbers, though we fully realise the extent of the challenge ahead of us. Each opponent will present their own challenge, but we will back ourselves," Steve Cain, New Zealand coach.