England vs. Mexico
The FIFA Women’s World Cup resumes with action from Group B; this match pits a growing Mexican against a rising “dark horse” in England at the Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Mexico have qualified for their first Women’s World Cup campaign since 1999 by virtue of beating Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and a landmark victory over USA on home soil no less, as they were hosts for the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifiers. Their only significant defeats where to Canada on two occasions, losing 3-0 early on and 1-0 in the Final. Coach Leonardo Cuellar has been with the Mexican Women’s outfit since 1998, leading the U17 and U20 sides to numerous World Cups. However this is by far his best work, as he has helped end a 12-year absence from this tournament and is looking to prove their worth and looking to have a positive outing this time around. The key player on this team for a while has been Maribel Dominguez, even at age 33 she has a nose for the net, scoring 6 goals during qualifying.
As for England, this is a squad that is poised to accomplish something in this tournament. They ended qualifying undefeated and ultimately beat Switzerland in the Final over two legs, this performance has raised expectations and most are looking for them to make a huge stride forward. Coach Hope Powell is a well respected by the players having represented England herself, she amounted 66 caps and scored 35 goals. Her work with this team hasn’t gone unnoticed, as she has blooded some very talented young players and mixed them in well with the “old guard”. The key player for this team is Kelly Smith; She has scored an amazing 43 goals in 104 caps and has won everything possible on the domestic level. She currently plies her trade in WPS with Boston Breakers but is better known as a member of Arsenal Ladies, two other players to look out for currently play for Arsenal Ladies in captain Faye White and winger Rachel Yankey. The majority of this squad is made up of either former or current Arsenal Ladies, arguably one of the best club sides in the Women’s game.
I really like the make up of this England side; in fact I have a rooting interest with so many players having ties to Arsenal Ladies. As for Las Aztecas , they are making serious strides but a deep run in this tournament might be a bit too much to ask. That being said I’m going with the under in this match, I feel England may start off the tournament slowly and build up to the final group match against Japan.