There could hardly be a more explosive opening to the seventh edition of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, as the tournament in Canada kicks off on Tuesday 5 August with the rerun of the 2012 final between reigning world champions USA and runners up Germany. FIFA.com previews the first day of the tournament action.
Match of the dayGermany-USA, Edmonton, 5 August 2014, 17:00 (local time)
The luck of the draw fell on the side of the fans and supporters if not necessarily the teams when USA and Germany came out of the hat in the same group. The nations have long been synonymous with all that is best and most progressive in the women's game, a situation reflected in the FIFA World Ranking where USA are top ahead of the Germans.
The teams have already met six times at the U-20 level. They first crossed swords almost exactly 12 years ago in the semi-finals - and in a neat twist of fate, the game took place in Edmonton, the venue for the latest encounter. USA triumphed 4-1 in 2002 and went on to claim the inaugural World Cup for this age group.
Overall the North Americans have won four times and the Germans twice. In the most recent meeting in Japan two years ago USA narrowly prevailed in a thrilling final, claiming their third U-20 world crown with the only goal of the game. Tuesday's clash offers Germany coach Maren Meinert and her team a perfect chance to avenge the defeat in 2012 and start the latest edition of the tournament on the front foot.
The other matchesThe official Opening Match takes place in Toronto where hosts Canada meet Ghana. The home team are determined to make an impressive start and fuel the gathering momentum behind the event.
The Young Canucks’ best showing came at the inaugural World Cup on home soil when they finished runners-up in 2002. Coach Andrew Olivieri and his team are now looking to repeat or even better that outcome. Opening day opponents Ghana start with more modest aims as they look to survive the group stage for the first time at the third attempt.
The day’s other Group A fixture matches Finland and Korea DPR in Toronto. The Asians won the tournament back in 2006, and are overwhelming favourites to down the Finns and take the first step towards a quarter-final berth.
The second Group B encounter features China and Brazil. The South Americans just about have the edge in the previous history of the fixture and are also determined to wipe away the lingering memories of a surprise early exit in Japan two years ago.
Player to watchKadeisha Buchanan is just 18 but rates as one of the host nation’s most exciting prospects. The Canada defender featured at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Azerbaijan two years ago and has already made her debut for the senior women's national team.
9 - At the last edition of the tournament in Japan, Korea DPR set a new record for the most goals in a match when they thrashed Argentina 9-0.
“Obviously you always want a good start. There's a little more pressure this time because we're playing Germany, but it basically makes no difference who you play first. We have to lay down a marker and do whatever it takes to win. We respect Germany, they're a great team, and we know they’re totally fired up whenever they play us," USA striker Lindsey Horan
Match scheduleCanada-Ghana (Toronto National Soccer Stadium, 20:00)
Finland-Korea DPR (Toronto National Soccer Stadium, 17:00)
Germany-USA (Edmonton, Commonwealth Stadium, 17:00)
China-Brazil (Edmonton, Commonwealth Stadium, 20:00)