Day four of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ sees the eight teams in Groups E and F make their first outings in the competition. England and France will set the ball rolling in Moncton, where Colombia and Mexico will face off a few hours later. Over in Montreal, meanwhile, tournament debutants Spain and Costa Rica will square off, with Korea Republic and Brazil then bringing a busy day to a close.
Match of the day
France-England, Moncton, 9 June, 14.00 local time
These two sides have met 17 times since 1973, with the English winning the first two clashes before suffering a lengthy run of disappointments in the fixture. It was the French who stopped England’s run at Germany 2011, beating them in the quarter-finals, with Les *Bleues *also getting the better of their near neighbours in the group phase at UEFA Women’s EURO 2013. England would be advised not to look too closely at France’s qualifying statistics either: ten wins out of ten, 54 goals scored and only three conceded. The ambitious French are aiming to go all the way on what is their third women’s world finals appearance and would appear to have the resources to achieve that goal. For their part, the English are looking to push beyond the quarter-finals for the very first time. A long awaited win over their main rivals in Group F will fire hopes that they can do just that.
*The other matches *
Spain-Costa Rica, Montreal, 9 June, 16.00 local time
Both sides are newcomers to the tournament, though Spain are the clear favourites to take the points in Montreal, having cruised through qualifying and boasting 2014 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year candidate Veronica Boquete in their ranks. Costa Rica have a star of their own in Shirley Cruz, who has the job of steering a young and talented generation to success on their first outing on the big stage.
Colombia-Mexico, Moncton, 9 June, 17.00 local time
The two outsiders in Group F will both be eyeing a win to launch their bids for a place in the last 16. The Colombians go into the game buoyed by their unbeaten qualification campaign, but will prefer not to focus too much on their head-to-head record against Mexico, which reads no wins in six meetings. The match should make for an intriguing clash of styles, with a young and technically gifted Tri *side pitting their wits against the hard-running *Cafeteras.
Brazil-Korea Republic, Montreal, 9 June, 19.00 local time *
South American giants Brazil have been main players in the global women’s game since finishing runners-up at China 2007. The two sides met in the group phase at USA 2003, where *Os Auriverdes *ran out easy 3-0 winners. In seeking to avoid a repeat of that scoreline, the Taeguk Ladies *will be banking on their front line, though the Brazilians have a formidable attacking trio of their own in Marta, Cristiane and Formiga.
Player to watch
“Marta has the same impact on our team as Neymar does with the men’s side,” said Brazil coach Vadao, in reference to his star player. Absent from the qualifiers, the 29-year-old five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year has proved herself time and again on the big occasion since breaking into the national team in 2002 and is determined to help Brazil win the ultimate prize at Canada 2015.
7 - The number of France players appearing at Canada 2015 who have won more than 100 caps. Gaetane Thiney, Elise Bussaglia, Louisa Necib, Elodie Thomis, Camille Abily, Eugenie Le Sommer and Laura Georges are Les Bleues’ magnificent seven, all of whom completed their centuries some time ago.
*“We’ll be giving France all the respect they deserve, but we’ve got confidence in our own abilities too. We’ve got a top team and some great individuals, and we’ll be ready to fight right from the start,” *Lianne Sanderson,* England striker*.
*Match schedule *
Spain-Costa Rica (Olympic Stadium, Montreal, 16.00)
Brazil-Korea Republic (Olympic Stadium, Montreal, 19.00)
France-England (Moncton Stadium, Moncton, 14.00)
Colombia-Mexico (Moncton Stadium, Moncton, 17.00)
All times local