Brazil, Norway set for marquee match-up
Day 8, Match 16
Brazil vs. Norway, Group D
Date and Location
July 3, Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg, Germany
Live on CBC and CBCSports.ca (Noon ET). Consult the full broadcast schedule.
What's at stake
Even though they laboured to victories in their respective openers (Brazil beat Australia 1-0, Norway won by the same score against Equatorial Guinea) both these teams can take command of Group D (and possibly clinch a quarter-final berth) with a victory. Seeing as Brazil's last game is against the Africans, the pressure will be on Norway to carve out a win before its final group-stage match, against the pesky and dangerous Australians.
Setting the stage
It is the first genuine heavyweight match-up of the 2011 Women's World Cup. Brazil, many people's favourites, goes head to head with Norway — one of the original powerhouses of the women's game. Norway has done something Brazil has yet to achieve — win the World Cup.
The Norwegians triumphed in 1995 — the only other occasion the competition was held in Europe. But the balance of global power is shifting and the emergence of Brazil, in the women's game, will take some stopping in Germany.
The Scandinavians, who haven't beaten Brazil since the 1996 Olympics, will do their best to subdue Marta, but that will open up opportunities for her team-mates such as Cristiane. Norway captain Ingvild Stensland will have to be on top form and lead by example.
Player to watch for Brazil
Marta — By her standards the best player in the women's game had a quiet outing against Australia, so look for the five-time FIFA women's player of the year to pour it on against Norway.
Player to watch for Norway
Emilie Haavi — The talented forward came to her country's rescue when she scored in the 84th minute to lift Norway to victory over Equatorial Guinea. She also struck the post earlier in the game and proved a constant nuisance up front for the Africans.
The Brazilian perspective
"We have to improve. Whenever we have the possibility to play in a collective fashion we do it. We need Marta but we need the ten other players. Despite the fact the players are very experienced, they might be nervous, they might have been anxious in the first game, but that's now out of the way," coach Kleiton Lima told FIFA.com.
The Norwegian perspective
"We're going to have to do better against Brazil. However, after that win we're confident now - and I'm really excited about that match. Brazil are one of the best teams in women's football," forward Emilie Haavi told FIFA.com.
World Cup head-to-head
Sunday marks the third meeting between these sides at the World Cup. Brazil won the third-place game in a penalty shootout in 1999, and four years later earned a 4-1 win in the group stage.