There will be no shortage of excitement and tension when the second round of games in Group C of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship Russia 2006 kicks off on Monday afternoon.
The reigning champions will need to bounce back from an unexpected defeat to Korea DPR when they take on a Mexico side buoyed by victory over Switzerland . For their part, the Swiss will have to improve dramatically from that opening match showing if they are to down the Asian high-flyers and stay in the tournament.
Mexico v Germany
Moscow (Dynamo), 21 August, 16:00 local time
The Tricolores could hardly be in better shape as they limber up for their second game. Having shaken off their pre-tournament nerves with an opening round win and then seen the Germans slip to defeat, the Mexicans are convinced the last eight is within reach.
Despite the euphoria, coach Leonardo Cuellar is not underestimating the Germans' potential to bite back. "Germany are going to be wound-up for the game for sure," he warned.
Mexico's rising young star Charlyn Corral does not share her coach's cautious outlook, however: "It would be great to say we knocked out the world champions, and there's no reason to be scared. We need to go out and play our game and show the same determination and enthusiasm as we did against Switzerland."
The champions surprisingly slumped to defeat against Korea DPR after being overrun in many key areas. "I think we worked very hard as a group. We just came up against tough opponents, that's all," commented coach Maren Meinert by way of explanation. "We've got a good side, and I'm sure we'll pick ourselves up for the next two games and reach the quarter-finals."
Meinert is banking on the international experience of her players to get the German challenge back on track again, and the defence will certainly need to be on top of their game to thwart the quick and gifted duo of Corral and Monica Ocampo on the counter.
Germany's problems extend beyond the back-line, however, and with Lena Goessling a possible absentee through injury, their midfield will need to improve beyond recognition if the powerful front pairing of Anna Blasse and Juliane Maier are to receive the supply they require.
Switzerland v Korea DPR
Dynamo Stadium (Moscow), 19:00 (local time)
Another side with plenty of room for improvement are the Swiss, who face the surprising Koreans in their second game. Coach Claudio Taddei could barely contain his anger after a miserable showing against the Mexicans. "We looked like a bunch of tourists out there," he seethed.
On the bright side, the players at least seem to have taken stock of their under-par performance, striker Vanessa Buerki among them. "We made some really stupid mistakes," she admitted. "We don't know too much about the Koreans, but they must be strong if they can beat a side as good as Germany. It won't be easy, but we'll definitely raise our game."
For the Koreans, tomorrow's game represents a golden opportunity to put one foot firmly in the next round, and the Asian challengers are sure to be roared on once again by their army of noisy and fanatical supporters.
Ominously for the Swiss, the Asians' coach, Choe Kwang Sok said her players were a little tired before the Germany game, yet they looked anything but as forwards Jong Pok Hui, Ri Un Suk and O Kum Hui punched holes in the German rearguard time and again. The Swiss defenders will no doubt be praying that this terrible trio really do have a sleepless night tonight.