Mexico, England seek bright start

Wolfsburg’s opening match will see England host Mexico in Group B, which also features Japan and New Zealand. For England, the tournament opener represents a chance to start brightly in a campaign they hope will better their quarter-final showing four years ago. Conversely, the match at the home of the 2009 Bundesliga champions is the first outing for Mexico on the world stage since USA 1999.

The game
Mexico - England, Monday 27 June, Wolfsburg, 18.00 CET (local time)


The stakes
Recent form points to England as warm favourites to start off their campaign with a crucial three points. The English have impressed with wins against the world’s top-ranked side USA and European heavyweight Sweden in recent months. Mexico, for their part, had to endure defeat against the same opponents.

Both teams go into the match free of injuries within the squad, although Mexico have had to come to Europe without important attacking weapon Renae Cuellar, who failed at the eleventh hour to recover from knee surgery. It is a blow for Las Tricolores with Cuellar proving to be a good foil for evergreen forward Maribel Dominguez in the past. Nevertheless, Monica Ocampo has shown herself more than capable of providing a dangerous partnership with Dominguez.

Mexico will go into the match seeking to break new ground having failed to collect a point from their single appearance at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup™, scoring just one goal. That goal was scored by the talismanic Dominguez; Mexico’s only survivor from the tournament 12 years ago.

Both teams will be desperate to take three points from this match knowing that finishing second in Group B will likely mean a quarter-final showdown with host nation Germany.

The stat
4
– The number of goals scored by England forward Kelly Smith at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with the contribution of the former FIFA World Player of the Year candidate likely a key to the outcome of the game.

The words
"This is one of the best national teams that we have ever had. There are many young players that have also played World Cups in different categories. This is a very dynamic team that is also strong and plays with heart." Maribel Dominguez, Mexico striker

"We will have to adapt our game slightly to respond to their strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly we need to concentrate on our own game plan and perform well on the day." Steph Houghton, England defender