China battle Brazil for top spot
© AFP

The second round of games in Group D pits hosts China PR against another of the favourites for the title, Brazil. The South Americans, who possess one of the brightest stars of the women's game in Marta, have been steadily improving over the past few years and are currently ranked eighth in the world, three places ahead of their Asian opponents.

The team's outstanding individual talent and attacking strength were again in evidence during their resounding 5-0 win over New Zealand in their opening group game. However, their opponents are the Asian champions and, despite undergoing a tricky period of transition, there is no questioning their overall strength. Moreover, some 50,000 fans are expected to be roaring on the hosts at the Wuhan Sports Center Stadium as they look to take another step towards a historic first world title.

The game
Brazil-China PR, Wuhan, Saturday 15 September, 20:00 (local time)

The stakes
Both sides won their opening games, with Brazil relegating the hosts to second place in the group by virtue of goal difference. The winners on Saturday will not only advance to the knockout phase, but will also stand a great chance of finishing top of the pool, thus avoiding a potentially tricky tie against the top team from Group C in the next round.

The players
Brazil defender Elaine is again available for selection after missing her side's opener because of a red card during the South American qualifiers. Meanwhile, China PR's captain Li Jie has shaken off a knock picked up against Denmark and is expected to feature on Saturday.

The past
The two sides have crossed swords seven times in the past, with honours even after two wins apiece and three draws. The pair played out a classic in the semi-finals of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament in 1996, when China managed a hard-fought 3-2 victory. The teams have not previously met at the FIFA Women's World Cup.

The birthday girl
Brazilian goalkeeper Andreia turned 30 on 14 September. The shot-stopper, who keeps goal for Spanish side Transporte Alcaine, will be hoping to celebrate her big day by keeping another clean sheet against the hosts on Saturday.

The words
The Chinese are our main rivals in this group. Their No10, Ma Xiaoxu, and No9, Han Duan, are both very dangerous and we'll have to pay particular attention to them. This will certainly be a difficult match, but we feel that we understand our opponents well. We started poorly in the first match, but the players quickly adjusted themselves and we came out on top. I believe we'll get better and better as the tournament goes on - Jorge Barcellos,Brazilcoach

Brazil's strength is undeniable. Their attacking formation is superb, and they have a number of great players. However, every team has its weak points, and it's our job to capitalise on them during the course of the match and win the game - Marika Domanski-Lyfors,ChinaPR coach