Jordan make world first with Zambia

Group B kicks off this Sunday in Burnaby with an intriguing clash pitting tournament debutants Jordan against African outfit Zambia, back after eight years away.

The game
Jordan v Zambia, Burnaby, 1 July, 14:15 (local time)

The stakes
Both teams are acutely aware that this game is their best opportunity to pick up vital points ahead of subsequent clashes with group favourites Uruguay and Spain. Jordan are sure to find life difficult against their African opponents, who have spent 35 days preparing together prior to Canada 2007, a preparatory period that included friendly tournaments in both Germany and the Netherlands.

The players
Zambia will unfortunately be without impressive forward Clifford Mulenga, who missed his flight to the North American country. Also, Zambia's Henry Nyambe will miss the match at the Swangard Stadium through suspension. Jordan are at full strength.

The past
The fortunate fans in Burnaby will be witnessing a small slice of history in Sunday's encounter. The national teams of Zambia and Jordan have never met at any level of the men's or women's game.

Zambia previously appeared at the Nigeria 1999 edition of the elite youth competition, going out after the group stages following victory over Honduras, a draw with Spain and defeat to Brazil. Their goal this time around is to make it one step further and reach the Round of 16.

The words
"I'm expecting a very tight game. We've put in some really good training sessions over the last few days but you never know if the players will hold their nerve." Jan Poulsen, Jordan coach.

"We're going to beat Jordan, I'm convinced of it. And I think we're capable of surprising Uruguay and Spain, even though they are group favourites." Sebastian Mwansa, Zambia midfielder.

"I really hope and earnestly want my team to be very successful, not just against Jordan but over the whole tournament. Of course, the first game is incredibly important. We've prepared well and I'm not concerned about our opponents. I've got faith in my boys' ability." George Lwandamina, Zambia coach.