Day 6, Match 11
Japan vs. Mexico, Group B
Date and Location
July 1, BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany
Live on Rogers Sportsnet and CBCSports.ca (8:45 am ET). Consult the full broadcast schedule.
What's at stake
As one of the top seeds, Japan can take command of Group B, and possibly clinch a second-round berth, with a win over the Mexicans. Even a draw would leave the Asian powerhouse in good shape ahead of its final group-stage match. Mexico needs a win to control its fate before its last match against New Zealand, although a draw would be a pretty good result for the Mexican upstarts.
Setting the stage
The Japanese have the Women's World Cup experience to take the points in Leverkusen, but the Mexicans have proved that on their day they can beat the best.
Mexico could be forgiven for wanting to settle old scores. In both 2003 and 2007 the Mexicans lost out to Japan in qualifying playoffs for the Women's World Cup and now find themselves grouped together in Germany. Mexico has beaten Japan only once in seven meetings.
Japan will again to look to exploit Mexico's defensive frailty. It was exposed the last time these two met in a pair of friendlies a year ago. Japan won 4-0 and 3-0 with Shinobu Ohno scoring three goals. Mexico must tighten up at the back if they are to take something from the game.
Player to watch for Japan
Aya Miyama — The Japanese midfielder displayed her skill and class when she curled home a perfect free kick in the 68th minute to give her side a 2-1 victory over New Zealand.
Player to watch for Mexico
Monica Ocampo — The Mexican forward scored the bets goal of the tournament when she hit an audacious shot from 40 yards out during the run of play tucked into the top left corner in a 1-1 with England.
The Japanese perspective
"There are no more secrets now and we all know each other inside out. Mexico are a tough unit and we need to be watchful because they’re very quick up front and in defence," Japan coach Norio Sasaki told FIFA.com.
The Mexican perspective
"Before the [England] game the team was quite anxious, but having said that we were ready to play. After the game we were happy, but everyone feels they can give even more, so now we are looking to the Japan match. Now we have more confidence and we will have good positive thoughts for our future matches," Monica Ocampo told FIFA.com.
World Cup head-to-head
Japan and Mexico have never met at the World Cup.