The bottom two teams in Group B meet on Tuesday with two very different goals. New Zealand have nothing left to play for other than a first victory at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™, while Mexico still have the slimmest hopes of qualifying for the next round. Las Tricolores need to win by the biggest margin possible and hope that rivals Japan can do the same against England.
New Zealand have not won a single match at the finals so far, despite turning in some impressive performances. John Herman’s team made Japan work hard for their 2-1 win, and gave England a real scare before eventually losing by the same scoreline. The Football Ferns have given a good account of themselves in their third appearance at the competition, and they will be desperate to leave with a first point to their name.
Mexico earned their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup point with a 1-1 draw against England, and it could prove to be crucial. Las Tricolores need England to suffer a heavy defeat against Japan in addition to a big win of their own over New Zealand to make up the significant goal difference. Leonardo Cuellar will be hoping his team can bounce back from their 4-0 thrashing at the hands of the Nadeshiko, who showed much better teamwork and efficiency.
52 – Out of all the teams at the tournament, Mexico have the fewest home-based players. Out of 21 squad members, only 11 – or 52 per cent – play their club football in the Mexican national league.
“We enjoyed some very good periods in our first two matches, and we’ll need more of the same if we are to overcome Mexico. They’re the favourites, but we’ll be ready and will do all we can to get the win,” New Zealand midfielder Hayley Moorwood.
“The heavy defeat we suffered against Japan really isn’t a good thing, especially after what we achieved against England. We need to go back to basics, accept our mistakes and lead from the front. We’re still here, and we can still qualify,” Mexico defender Alina Garciamendez.