Korea DPR, the reigning women's U-20 world champions, and Germany, winners at Thailand 2004, both get their campaigns underway on the second matchday of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Chile 2008. The well-drilled Asian outfit face a clash of styles with Brazil's purveyors of 'jogo bonito', while the Europeans have African opposition in the shape of Congo DR.
The big game
Brazil-Korea DPR, Temuco, 20 November, 19.00 local time.
The Koreans stormed to victory at Russia 2006 by winning all six of their matches, scoring 18 goals to just one conceded. The bar is certainly set high, but the latest crop of Steel Rosebuds will be determined to continue in the same vein this Thursday against fellow women's footballing heavyweights Brazil, who finished third two years ago.
An encounter featuring two contrasting styles is expected, with the Canarinhas' creativity and technique pitted against the compact and ruthlessly efficient title holders. Defeated 1-0 by the Koreans in the semis on Russian soil, can the Auriverde set the record straight here in Chile?
The other match in Group D pits tournament debutants Norway against a Mexico side sure to rely heavily on the shining talents of striker Charlyn Corral. The Aztecas will be desperate to shake their status as the team with the worst defensive record in this competition, having conceded 25 times in just six FIFA U-20 World Cup games.
Over in Group C, Congo DR return to the global showpiece aiming to pick up their first victory at this level. Last time around in Russia, the Congolese bowed out at the group stage after three defeats and just one goal scored. Though aware of their opponents' lack of experience, Germany have vowed not to take the africans lightly. "Congo [DR] are an unknown quantity but they could well be dangerous," says supremo Maren Meinert. "All we know so far is that they are quick and battle hard for the whole 90 minutes."
Meanwhile, CONCACAF champions Canada test their mettle against Japan. The only previous meeting between the pair at this competition ended in victory for the North Americans, who won 4-0 at the event on home soil in 2002.
4 - The number of teams in action on Thursday that have finished in the top three at a previous edition of the tournament. As well as Korea DPR, Brazil and Germany, mention must be made of Canada who finished runners-up to the United States in 2002.
"At Russia 2006 I was impressed by the strength of the North Koreans, and they were incredibly quick. They're a very confident national team and are physically powerful, whereas we've got a more technical style. I predict it will be a great match," Kleiton Lima, Brazil coach.