Group B resumes on 20 August, with the bottom two aiming to boost their now-fragile hopes of qualification at the Podmoskovie Stadium in Shchelkovo before the leaders do battle in the section's evening fixture.

Shchelkovo (Podmoskovie), 20 August, 16:00 local time

For Finland and Canada, the post-mortems have been conducted and harsh lessons learned after opening matches that delivered nothing, having promised so much.

Both teams surrendered winning positions to end the first round of Group B games gazing up enviously at China and Nigeria, and yet neither side left Shelkovo's Podmoskovie stadium without some cause for consolation, with the Finns' Jarmo Matikainen in particular able to reflect with pride on a  creditable debut on the world stage .

"That was the first match for any Finnish women's team at world championship level and I was delighted with their performance," he said. "Of course I was a little disappointed with the result after the start we made, but credit must go to China. They were fast and technically excellent, and I've no doubts that we came up against one of the best teams in the tournament."
Finland may remain, by their own admission, a work in progress, but Canada coach  Ian Bridge  has seen enough of the Nordic outfit to cement his opinion that they are "improving with each game". Nevertheless, Bridge and his players will be buoyed by the memory of two friendly wins on Finnish soil as recently as June - both by identical 2-0 scorelines - and also go into the match boasting an unbeaten record against European opposition in FIFA U-19/U-20 Women's World Championships.

Indeed, though the absence of talismanic captain Kara Lang - ruled out of Russia 2006 with a knee injury - was keenly felt against Nigeria, particularly in a midfield area crying out for someone to take game by the scruff of the neck, Bridge is adamant that his side's target remains unaltered.

"It doesn't change anything for us, we still aim to qualify," he insisted. "We're just going to have to work that bit harder to do it now." 

China v  Nigeria
Shchelkovo (Podmoskovie), 20 August, 19:00 local time

The later meeting of Group B's early pace-setters will pit against each other two of the stars of the tournament's opening round of matches. In the red corner will be 18-year-old  Ma Xiaoxu , whose tender age belies a football brain that already seems well developed and a physical frame that is as imposing as any at Russia 2006.

The Dalian Shide striker scored 10 of China's 33 goals during qualifying and, though refreshingly self-critical of her Player of the Match-winning performance in the 2-1 win over Finland, she does admit to having "some technical similarities" to the legendary Sun Wen.

China's coach Shang Ruihua describes her as "definitely one of the best players I have worked with", and yet perhaps the most ominous words for Nigeria come from Matikainen, whose Finnish side Ma dismantled almost single-handedly. "The truth is that top class players like Ma make the difference at the highest level," he said. "We were well organised, but she has so many facets to her game that it's difficult to know how to defend against her. She's already a top, top player, no doubt about that."

Nevertheless, in the green corner, Nigeria appear to have a star-in-the-making all of their own, with Cynthia Uwak's  two brilliantly-taken late goals  having sent her straight to the top of the scoring charts, where she currently sits perched alongside Charlyn Corral, Collette McCallum, Vanessa Buerki and Marie-Laure Delie. 

However, her coach,  Emannuel Tetteh Okonkwo,  hinted that the winger-turned-striker's match-winning heroics might not earn her another opportunity to lead the Nigerian line against China. "Cynthia can definitely score goals like that on a regular basis and will be an important player for us here," he said. "But we may need to use her in a different way as our tactics change from game to game."

Ruihua, meanwhile, looks to be pondering a selection change of his own, with goalscoring substitute Zi Jingjing in line for a starting place alongside Ma. "Our mistake in the first half against Finland was that our football was too unsophisticated," he told "China are always at our best when we play fast, skilful football, and bringing on Zi helped us play that kind of football.

"We know it will be more difficult now. The Nigeria team is very fast, very dangerous, and it is also difficult to predict what they will do next. I think the first priority against a team like this is to organise our defence very well indeed."