The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012 will see the second round of group matches commence on Wednesday, with several teams already on the precipice. Mexico, Switzerland and Korea Republic have little margin for error after opening day defeats, and each face the possibility of early elimination if they are again conquered. Conversely, New Zealand, Nigeria and hosts Japan could advance should results go their way.
Match of the day
Japan-New Zealand, Miyagi, Wednesday 22 August, 19.20 (local time)
As was the case last Sunday, the matchday will conclude with Japan taking the field in what is expected to be another buoyant Miyagi crowd. Japan showed in their impressive 4-1 win over Mexico, that the next generation of talent possess similar technical attributes to the senior side, the current world champions. Their opponents, New Zealand, may not have the same possession-based style but have significant experience on the world stage, and, in their 2-1 win over Switzerland displayed a confidence not always seen by Kiwis teams at this level. Top spot awaits the victor, while the two teams will know qualification for the quarter-finals is up for grabs should the earlier Group A match end in stalemate.
It will be a contrast in styles when Italy take on Korea Republic in their Group B contest in Saitama. Italy displayed organisation and determination against Brazil only to unluckily be denied a win by their opponents equalised deep into injury time. Korea Republic, for their part, showed plenty of encouraging signs when in possession, despite their defeat against Nigeria.
For their part, Nigeria can guarantee progression with victory against Brazil, after a powerful win against Korea Republic. Brazil coach Caio Couto, meanwhile, will be looking for more from his senior players after an indifferent opening outing against Italy.
Switzerland and Mexico will be desperate for all three points after opening day defeats, with a loss spelling the end of the road should the other Group A match end in a draw. Nevertheless, both showed glimpses of form in attack and will be looking for further improvement with first day nerves out of the way.
Player to watch
Winner of the adidas Silver Ball and adidas Bronze Boot at the 2010 U-17 Women’s World Cup, Japan’s Kumi Yokoyama will be eager to show her wares after starting on the bench against Mexico. Two years ago Yokoyama famously scored a majestic individual goal, reminiscent of Diego Maradona in his pomp, and the diminutive midfielder reminded coach Hiroshi Yoshida of her rare skills with a stunning strike against Mexico after entering the fray as a substitute.
6 – One more goal for Ebere Orji will lift the Nigerian to six strikes in her third FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, alongside New Zealand’s Rosie White who is the current top-scorer amongst players at Japan 2012.
"Facing Japan is going to be a tough game but we're not scared. We prepared very well for this and we consider it as a different challenge than our first game,” New Zealand striker Rosie White
Wednesday 22 August (all times are local)
Mexico-Switzerland, Miyagi, 16.20
Japan-New Zealand, Miyagi, 19.20
Brazil-Nigeria, Saitama, 15.00
Italy-Korea Republic, Saitama, 18.00