Women’s World Cup — Day 4 Preview

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Tuesday is the final set of matches in the opening series so if the team you are following has not played yet, they’ll be on the schedule today.

Here is a look at Tuesday as Group E and Group F finally get underway:

Group F – France vs England
Tuesday, 1 p.m. EDT
Moncton Stadium, Moncton
WATCH LIVE ON NBCDEPORTES.COM

The choice match among the openers pits budding European powers, both of whom have legitimate designs on advancing to the latter stages of the World Cup.  The catch is that the group runner-up in all likelihood earns a softer start to the knockout stage than the winner, who probably gets Germany in the quarterfinals.

Speaking of quarterfinals, the last time these two met at this stage was in the quarterfinals of the last World Cup.  The epic match went to penalty kicks when then England coach Hope Powell asked for volunteers and was greeted by a series of dropped heads.  France won it but then lost their next two matches to finish fourth.  They played again in the group stage of Euro 2013 with France winning 3-0.  Powell was moved out of the coaching position after that match.

Group E – Spain vs Costa Rica
Tuesday, 4 p.m. EDT
Olympic Stadium, Montreal
WATCH LIVE ON NBCDEPORTES.COM (also on NBC Universo)

The last two of the eight teams making their World Cup debuts will get it on and both will have their eyes on playing on after the group stage.  And both could do worse than to emulate their men’s counterparts.  Spanish men pulled a Euro-World Cup-Euro triple from 2008 through 2012 and Costa Rica qualified to their first Women’s World Cup on the heels of their men reaching the quarterfinals.

Spain are led by the high-scoring duo of Veronica Boquete and Sonia Bermudez but could struggle to score if they have to dig into their depth.  Costa Rica’s best player has been Shirley Cruz who plies her trade in France at Paris Saint-Germain.  They also boast Raquel Rodriguez, a promising striker who will go from the World Cup to her senior season at Penn State.

Group F – Colombia vs Mexico
Tuesday, 4 p.m. EDT
Moncton Stadium, Moncton
WATCH LIVE ON NBCDEPORTES.COM (also on Telemundo)

The bottom two teams in Group F collide in a pivotal match with the winner knowing chances are reasonable to advance while the loser will be left to seek out points against France and/or England.

Colombia went to Germany four years ago and came home without a goal to show for it (they did earn a point in a scoreless draw against North Korea.)  They are back without a single player having celebrated her 30th birthday and few that play outside Colombia.  Many that do are still at the college level.  Mexico struggled to get out of CONCACAF qualifying nearly going belly-up after sandbagging against the United States in order to play Trinidad and Tobago in order to qualify.  It wound up taking extra time to sneak through and avoid a playoff against Ecuador.  Still Mexico has a decided edge in experience in this one.

Group E – Brazil vs Korea Republic
Tuesday, 7 p.m. EDT
Olympic Stadium, Montreal
WATCH LIVE ON NBCDEPORTES.COM (also on NBC Universo)

Perhaps it is poetic justice that Brazil be one of the final two teams to be seen at this World Cup.  Marta is widely considered the best player of her generation and despite playing in two Olympic finals and a World Cup final, she and Brazil do not have their names on any global trophies.  Now 29, and with many miles on her world class legs, it could be the end of the window in terms of World Cups.  Marta and her team were certainly on song when they ran circles around the United States last year.

South Korea played the U.S. more recently and held them to 0-0 in a match many observers thought they easily could have won.  They play a very technical game and are well organized, the latter being an absolute necessity against Brazil.