A fascinating match-up awaits in Monchengladbach as 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ runners-up Brazil face Australia, the third youngest team in the tournament. The pair will be the final two teams to get their Germany 2011 campaign underway, and also the first match for the Lower Rhine city situated in Germany’s west. As always, much focus will be on the performance of five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta, and whether the Brazilian ace can repeat her sparkling performances of four years ago.

The game
Brazil - Australia, Wednesday 29 June, Moenchengladbach, 18.15 (local time)

The stakes
These two teams have an interesting past with Brazil winning five of the eight meetings, and Australia the other three. However, it is the Matildas who triumphed in their last contest, winning 1-0 over As Canarinhas at the 2008 Peace Cup. FIFA tournament history, however, favours Brazil who have won all three matches, including the most recent meeting at China 2007. On that occasion, the South Americans needed two high-quality goals to edge a spirited Australia 3-2 in the quarter-final in Tianjin.

As always the opening game represents an important opportunity to open brightly, build momentum, and get a jump on the group opponents; in this case Norway and Equatorial Guinea. With few matches played by either team in recent times, form remains inconclusive. Brazil enter the tournament somewhat under the radar having played just one full international this year; that being a 3-0 victory over Chile. Australia too have been low key since the conclusion of the domestic season in February, playing just a few internationals in that time.

The stat
– Brazil’s veteran midfielder Formiga is set to play in her ninth FIFA tournament; a figure matched only by Germany striker Birgit Prinz amongst those players featured at Germany 2011.

The words
“Now our most difficult rival is Australia because it is our first match. Before thinking about the others we have to get through the group stages first."
Brazil coach Kleiton Lima

“There's a real sense of confidence around the team at the moment - a real self belief and buzz in the playing group”
Australia coach Tom Sermanni