The party starts in Chile

From Wednesday onwards, the eyes of the footballing world will turn to Chile. When the referee's whistle begins play at high noon in Chillan, a noted artistic and cultural centre, the curtain will rise on this year's FIFA U-20-Women's World Cup.

The very first day of the tournament features four intriguing showdowns, with representatives of all six FIFA confederations in action. As an added bonus, the scorer of the first goal will also go down as the player who struck the 300th goal in the history of the tournament. Which team will make the best start, and which player will etch her name in the history books?

The big game
Chile-England, Coquimbo, 19 November, 21.00 (local time)

An entire nation will be watching in expectation when Chile enter the fray directly following the opening ceremony in the idyllic coastal town, in the South Americans' first-ever match at a FIFA Women's World Cup. The fans at the Estadio Francisco Sanchez Rumoroso will roar on Marta Tejedor's side, doing their part towards realising the dream of an opening-day victory over the powerful Europeans. England, meanwhile, are confident of claiming all three points and underlining their role as favourites in Group A.

The second fixture in the section matches the two youngest teams at the event, New Zealand and Nigeria. Both John Herdman and Daniel Evumena's teams benefit from the exuberance and unencumbered approach of youth, but the result is a serious matter, as the losers will immediately have their backs to the wall in a game of catch-up for the remainder of the group stage.

Elsewhere, two-time runners-up at this level, China PR, will be keen to lay out their trophy credentials in the opening match of the tournament against Argentina. The Asians have arrived in Chile on the back of a customary tidal wave of expectation, but they will need to be on their guard against a South American side featuring no fewer than six players with experience from the Women's Olympic Football Tournament 2008.

Following that match and on the same ground, USA open their Group B campaign against France, looking for a repeat of their victory over the Bleuettes at the group stage in Russia two years ago, a tight affair settled by a solitary goal. The Coquimbo crowd can look forward to a festival of attacking football, as neither side contrived to draw any of their group fixtures last time out in Russia, in Thailand in 2004, nor in Canada two years prior to that.

The stat
1 – The number of defeats in normal time suffered by USA in 18 matches at FIFA U-20 Women's World Cups (a 3-1 defeat to Germany in the Thailand 2004 semi-finals).

The words
"I have huge respect for my players. Coaching them is a privilege. They have massive potential as individuals, but our strength is our team play, and the fact a different player will stand out in any given match," Tony DiCicco, USA coach.

The matches
New Zealand-Nigeria (15.00)
Chile-England (21.00)

China PR-Argentina (12.00)
France-USA (15.00)