U.S. begins with familiar foe
The 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup kicked off Sunday, with defending champion Germany opening with a victory over Canada to get a jump on fellow favorites Brazil and the United States. The U.S. gets a chance to show off its talents on Wednesday as it aims to capture a third World Cup title. Here are some interesting stats and storylines concerning the Americans and the rest of Group C, who take to the pitch on Day 3 of the tournament.
• The United States begins its quest to win its first Women's World Cup since 1999 against one of its most familiar Women's World Cup foes in North Korea. This is the fourth time that the United States and North Korea have met in the group stage, the most times any two teams have met in the group stage, and tied with United States-Norway for most frequent meeting ever in the Women's World Cup.
• Abby Wambach has nine Women's World Cup goals in 12 matches, three shy of tying Michelle Akers for the United States record. She also has 118 international goals, fourth all-time and second among active players behind Germany's Birgit Prinz (128 goals entering the tournament).
• A player to watch for the United States is 21-year-old Alex Morgan, the youngest player on the roster. The super-sub has recorded seven goals in 19 caps with three of those goals coming at the Algarve Cup in March 2011.
• North Korea is fielding the youngest squad at the tournament with an average age of 20 years, 11 months. It is the third youngest team in the history of the tournament. North Korea has a strong youth women's program, having won the 2006 U-20 Women's World Cup and the 2008 U-17 Women's World Cup.
• Colombia makes its Women's World Cup debut against a Sweden team that is one of seven countries to have appeared in every edition of the Women's World Cup. No newcomer to the tournament has advanced past the group stage since Russia reached the quarterfinals in 1999.