Two nations with very different FIFA Women's World Cup™ pedigree, Germany and Japan, will meet in Wolfsburg’s Arena Im Allerpark hunting a berth in the final four at Germany 2011. Germany have only missed qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-finals once; that being in the 1999 tournament.
Conversely, Japan have reached the last eight just once, which was back at Sweden 1995. Indeed prior to this tournament the Nadeshiko had won just three matches in their five previous appearances among the world elite.
Germany – Japan, Saturday 9 July, Wolfsburg, 20.45 CET
The winner of this contest will face either Sweden or Australia in Frankfurt, and will leave them only 180 minutes away from FIFA Women’s World Cup glory. Germany will of course have the benefit of home crowd support; a backing which seems to be growing in intensity with every match they play.
Unsurprisingly, history heavily favours Germany who are undefeated in their eight meetings with Japan, recording seven wins. However the last match-up, played in July 2009 in Mannheim, finished 0-0.
Japan have yet to score a goal in three defeats against Germany in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Additionally the Nadeshiko have never defeated a European nation at the tournament, losing eight and drawing just once. However Japan have crept up the international pecking order in recent years, claiming a number of significant scalps, and they were the seeded team in Group B at Germany 2011.
Japan will be hoping that Homare Sawa returns to the kind of goalscoring form which saw the inspirational midfielder score Germany 2011's only treble, in the second group match against Mexico. Now in her fifth tournament, Sawa is set to become the second most-capped Asian player on the world stage with 16 appearances, four behind China’s Sun Wen.
The match will be particularly special for Kozue Ando and Yuki Nagasato who both featured prominently in the most recent Bundesliga season, turning out for Duisburg and Turbine Potsdam respectively.
15 – Germany are unbeaten in their last 15 matches in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, claiming an incredible 14 wins and one draw during that period. Their last defeat dates back to the 1999 quarter-final, where the European powerhouse suffered a 3-2 defeat against USA who went on to win the tournament on home soil.
“You could see we wanted to win at all costs (in the final group match against France) and now we've got the confidence to face a very strong Japan side in the quarter-finals.” Silvia Neid, Germany coach.