Japan, Scotland eye quick start
© FIFA.com

With ambitious Japan and surprising Scotland kicking off the FIFA U-20 World Championship in Victoria on July 1st, there should be plenty of fireworks on display in the small Pacific city and not just because of national holiday Canada Day.

The game
Japan v Scotland, Victoria, 1 July , 14:15 (local time)

The stakes
In what figures to be an even group, both the Asian and European runners-up know the importance of getting off to a good start in their opener. With 2005 losing finalists Nigeria up next, the Scots may have more pressure on them to get full points against Japan in Sunday's opening match from Royal Athletic Park.

The players
The two teams are at full strength for their clash, and no players are suspended. Japan will need to watch Hibernian striker Steven Fletcher, who has a wicked left foot and scored nine times in nine qualifying matches. The task of marking him will likely fall to Japanese captain and centre back Yohei Fukumoto.

The past
The two teams have never played in the U-20s, with Scotland having qualified just two times previously - in 1983 and 1987. They reached the quarter-finals on both occasions. By contrast, Japan are one of the most regular competitors at the event, having qualified for seven consecutive FIFA U-20 World Cups. They've advanced out of the group stage in five of the last six of those tournaments.

The birthdays
Yohei Takeda and Kazushige Kirihata both turned 20 on 30 June, the day before the match.

The words
"I've seen a number of Japan's matches, and they look like we expected - well organised and technically very proficient. But, we will focus on playing to our own strengths." Tommy Wilson, Scotland head coach.

"Up front, we can score and we've got a lot of firepower. I think that'll be a decisive factor for us." Scotland midfielder Michael McGlinchey.

"We have a cohesive unit that we have confidence in ... and we will be focusing on getting better every match." Japan coach Yasushi Yoshida.