Two women's football superpowers collide this Sunday as Brazil and USA battle to decide which of them will claim the last remaining semi-final spot at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011™. Each were among the pre-tournament favourites, not least because of their respective positions of first and third in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking.
The two sides are well acquainted from previous FIFA Women's World Cups. At the 2007 edition in China, the US Girls were comprehensively beaten to a place in the Final by A Seleção, but were able to exact revenge in the final of the Olympic Football Tournament a year later in Beijing, where the Americans won 1-0 after extra time.
*Brazil-USA, Sunday, 10 July, Dresden, 17.30 CET (local time)
Runners up at China 2007, Brazil maintained a 100 per cent record in the group stages of this year's competition, collecting maximum points from Group D. Marta and Co upped their performance level with every game and in the end comfortably booked their place in the last eight. Following a narrow 1-0 victory over Australia in their opening fixture, the South Americans overcame both Norway and Equatorial Guinea 3-0 to set up a mouthwatering tie with their old adversaries.
USA, meanwhile, have had to come to terms with their first ever defeat in the group stages of a FIFA Women's World Cup after going down 2-1 against Sweden in their final group match. The result also consigned the Olympic titleholders to second place in their section for the first time ever.
That said, and in spite of their 4-0 semi-final defeat at China 2007, the stats favour the Stars and Stripes ahead of Sunday's clash. In 1991, the Americans routed their South American rivals 5-0 in the group phase and also ran out 2-0 winners in the last four of USA 1999.
USA maintained the upper hand at both the Athens and Beijing Olympic Football Tournaments in 2004 and 2008 respectively, though Brazil did manage to come out on top at in the last-four at Sydney 2000.
10 – Abby Wambach has scored ten FIFA Women's World Cup goals in her career, making her one of just a handful of players to have reached double figures. Her last goal came against Sweden at China 2007, when she netted a brace in a 2-0 victory.
"Brazil are a technically gifted side and we'll have to stick together. We really need to play as a team, and that's what we're focusing on. We need to work for one another and help each other out. If we can do that, we'll get the result we're all hoping for,"
USA defender Christie Rampone.