Day 11, Match 26
Germany vs. Japan, quarter-final
Date and Location
July 9, Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg, Germany
Live on CBC-TV and CBCSports.ca (2:30 p.m. ET). Consult the full broadcast schedule.
What's at stake
A spot in the semifinals against the winner of Sunday's quarter-final matchup between Sweden and Australia. Germany has won the last two World Cups, and is seeking to become the first nation in tournament history to win three. Japan's only previous quarter-final appearance came in 1995, when it lost to the United States.
Setting the stage
Is there any stopping the Germans?
The host nation and two-time defending world champions won all three of its group stage games to push its unbeaten run at the World Cup to 15 matches (14 wins and one draw) — Germany has not lost since the quarter-finals of the 1999 tournament.
A key figure in its two World Cup titles was striker Birgit Prinz, the all-time leading scorer in World Cup history. This competition was supposed to be her chance to win the crown on home soil. But after marginal performances in Germany' s first two matches, she came in for heavy criticism from the German press and she was benched for her country 's third game, a 4-2 win over France. Chances are good that she won't be in the starting lineup against Japan.
The Asian powerhouse, one of the top four seeds in this tournament, have a point to prove after losing 2-0 to England in its final game as first place in Group B slipped through their fingers.
Can the Japanese stem the powerful German tide and knock the defending champions out of the competition before a partisan crowd in Wolfsburg? It's doubtful. The host nation hasn't exactly been a force at this tournament, and yet they won all three of their group stage matches. Now that the games really matter, look for German players to wake up and assert themselves.
Player to watch for Germany
Celia Okoyino da Mbabi — The 23-year-old star has been a standout for the Germans thus far, scoring the decider in a 2-1 win over Canada, and scoring a goal and setting up another in a 4-2 win against France.
Player to watch for Japan
Homare Sawa — The veteran Japanese forward exploded for three goals in a 4-0 win over Mexico, and will be looking to add to her tally against the Germans in what could be her last World Cup match.
World Cup head-to-head
Germany and Japan have faced each other six times in international play, with the Germans earning five wins and one draw. Germany has defeated Japan three times at the World Cup, all during the first stage, in 1995, 2003 and 2007.