Day 4, Match 7
Norway vs. Equatorial Guinea, Group D
Date and Location
June 29, Impuls Arena, Augsburg, Germany
Live on Rogers Sportsnet and CBCSports.ca (8:45 am ET). Consult the full broadcast schedule.
What's at stake
All eyes will be on the later game between Australia and Brazil because this one, on paper at least, should be a cake walk for Norway. A win by the Norwegians would put them in the early lead in Group D and put them well on their way to advancing to the second round. A draw would represent a major accomplishment for the Africans, who need to pick up a point here if it has any chance of moving on.
Setting the stage
With due respect to both nations, this will be seen as the warm-up to the main event. The Norwegians have, on paper at least, been blessed with the easiest opening game at the World Cup.
Norway has been among the heavyweights of women's football for 20 years. The former World and Olympic champions breezed through qualifying, scoring 42 goals in just 10 games. Most expect Norway and Brazil to dispute top spot in Group D.
As minnows go, they don't come any smaller than Equatorial Guinea. The tiny West African state has qualified for the first time but its women's program is on the rise. It hosted and won the 2008 African Women's Championship, and finished runner-up to Nigeria in the 2010 edition.
The big story
Equatorial Guinea striker Jade Boho has been suspended from the tournament over eligibility issues. Boho reportedly has played for Spain within the last five years. Equatorial Guinea replaced Boho with Emiliana. The loss of Boho is a huge loss for the Africans, as she was the team's only legitimate scoring threat up front.
Player to watch for Norway
Ingvild Stensland — One of the most effective midfielders in Europe, Stensland is a ferocious tackler and tireless worker. She takes captaincy in her stride and commands respect from teammates and opponents alike. Stensland loves to shoot from long range and her free kicks have produced some spectacular goals.
"We know that Equatorial Guinea are physically strong, but we need to begin the tournament with a win." — midfielder Ingvild Stensland told FIFA.com
World Cup head-to-head
These countries have never faced each other in international play.