FIFA Women’s World Cup: Group C Preview


Japan vs. Cameroon

What Cameroon did to Ecuador was downright incredible, even if Ecuador is very likely one of the weakest sides in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Scoring six goals on any team in a World Cup is downright impressive, and Gaelle Enganamouit’s hat-trick, hair, red card drawn, and play to set up star Madeleine Ngono Mani’s opening goal made her one of the stars of the tournament’s opening games in group play.

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It looks like Cameroon have three bona fide stars in the tournament on their hands in Mani, Enganamouit, and captain Christine Manie, who dispatched a corner against Ecuador. The trio were simply too good for Ecuador to handle, but the Cameroonian strike-force will be put to the test against the defending champions and one of the best teams in the tournament.

While Japan didn’t play their best game and looked worn out in the second half, they did defeat an excellent Switzerland side in the first game, securing three points to essentially guarantee that they will make it into the next round. A win from Japan would really lock that up, but the same can be said for Cameroon, who have a +6 goal differential.

It remains to be seen how much success the group’s two powerhouses can have against Ecuador, but Cameroon have a huge advantage over teams in other groups if they come in third place (the four third-place teams with the highest goal differential will advance to the knockout stages).

Japan have one of the most technically gifted teams in the tournament and are studded with stars, including Yuki Ogimi, who plays for two-time UEFA Champions League-winning side VFL Wolfsburg. This will be another test for Japan, but the real test will be to see how legit Cameroon are. They made a huge statement with their incredible 6-0 win over Ecuador in the nation’s first ever World Cup performance, but it’s time to show that they can play up with one of the giants.

Kick-off is set for Friday at 19:00 Pacific Time, and this isn’t a game you’ll want to miss.

Switzerland vs. Ecuador

Earlier on Friday at 16:00 Pacific Time in Vancouver, Switzerland will look for the their first victory of the tournament after losing 1-0 to Japan in the opener off of a first-half penalty. I am beyond shocked that they didn’t score a goal, because they played very well and seem to have one of the best players in the tournament in Ramona Bachmann, who was just beyond sensational against an elite opponent.

Her running and skill will almost certainly be too much for Ecuador to handle, and she isn’t the only star to watch for on a Swiss side that also contains Ana-Marie Crnogorcevic and Lara Dickenman.

The problem is that Bachmann will need to be more clinical and effective at link-up play going forward. That said, she carved through a world-class defense with ease, so she should have no trouble scoring goals (perhaps even a hat-trick) against an Ecuador team that was simply torn to shreds by Cameroon. Bachmann was unlucky at several points in Switzerland’s first match, so all eyes will be on one of the stars of the tournament on Friday.

Ecuador will have to really turn things around if they even want to pull a point out of this one, as Switzerland are expected to blow out the first-time World Cup side (who barely qualified after winning 1-0 in the second leg against Trinidad and Tobago in the two-leg playoff to get in). It isn’t impossible for them to impress, but it’s hard to see them doing a 180 and playing up to a fast, physical, and gifted Swiss side.

Next: Looking at Germany's 10-0 victory

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