Group A: Latin America versus Europe

Four teams, two philosophies, one common objective. As the excitement mounts ahead of the commencement of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2010 on 13 July, we take a look at Group A, where sides from Latin America and Europe will fight it out for two of the coveted quarter-final spots. Host nation Germany, who won the tournament in Thailand in 2004, are the clear favourites, while Colombia and Costa Rica set out hoping to deal a massive blow to France's quest for glory.

That will not be easy, however, as Les Bleuettes can point to a fourth-placed finish at the most recent edition of the tournament in Chile in 2008 and a semi-final appearance at the UEFA European Women's Under 19 Championship in Belarus last year. Like Germany, France demonstrate superb tactical awareness at this age level, but Costa Rica will look to counter their efficiency with the goal threat posed by Raquel Rodríguez Cedeño. Aged just 16, this exceptional striker bagged ten goals in a qualifying campaign that saw Las Tricolores edge out Canada. Colombia, meanwhile, are relishing their outsider status and hope to spring a surprise with their technical ability.

The teams in Group A Germany Costa Rica Colombia France

The matches (all kick-offs in local time) Germany - Costa Rica, Bochum, 13 July, 11.30 Colombia - France, Bochum, 13 July, 14.30 Costa Rica - France, Bochum, 16 July, 15.00 Germany - Colombia, Bochum, 16 July, 18.00 France - Germany, Augsburg, 20 July, 11.30 Costa Rica - Colombia, Dresden, 20 July, 11.30

The location The first two matchdays in this section take place in Bochum. Home to some 375,000 people, the Ruhr city will thus be very much in the spotlight in the early stages of the tournament, especially when it stages the Opening Ceremony.

Yet that is not all. The stadium of popular German club VfL Bochum, now of the second division, will host a quarter-final game and a semi-final in its complement of eight matches this year, and is also one of nine host venues for the FIFA Women's World Cup™ in 2011.

The crunch match* France - Germany, Augsburg, 20 July, 11.30

No one can say whether this clash of the giants on the final day of the group stage will decide who tops the section. But it certainly promises to be a feast of football, as the teams have already served up two treats in as many years. In Chile in 2008, Germany overcame France 5-3 in the match for third place, and followed this up with a 2-1 win in the group stage of the UEFA European Women's U-19 Championship last year. All the more motivation, then, for Les Bleuettes* to exact revenge on their neighbours by beating them on their own turf.

The opening gambit "It's always tough against European teams and Costa Rica did well to knock out Canada in qualifying. Colombia, on the other hand, are big unknowns."Germany midfielder Marina Hegering in an exclusive interview with