Previewing opening-day matches
The 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off Sunday with two matches in Group A, as defending champion Germany takes on Canada and Nigeria faces off against France. Here are some interesting stats and storylines about Day 1.
• Germany is 4-0-1 all time in its opening matches at the Women's World Cup, with a plus-19 goal difference (21 goals for, 2 goals against). Canada, on the other hand, is 0-3-1 all time in its opening matches, with a minus-5 goal difference (5 goals for, 10 goals against). Another advantage for Germany is that host nations are 4-1-0 in opening matches all time at the Women's World Cup (United States 2-0-0, China 2-0-0, Sweden 0-1-0).
• Germany hasn't allowed a goal at the Women's World Cup since the 41st minute of the 2003 final against Sweden, a shutout streak of 597 minutes, which is a Women's World Cup record. Canada has scored in each of its past 12 Women's World Cup matches, tied for the third-longest scoring streak in tournament history. One of these two streaks has to end, and it will likely be Canada's, as Germany hasn't allowed a goal in any international match since Oct. 28, 2010, a 2-1 friendly win over Australia, a shutout streak of 603 minutes.
• Germany has beaten Canada in all nine of their head-to-head matches, outscoring the North Americans 34-10 in the process. This includes one Women's World Cup match, a group-stage fixture in 2003 which Germany won 4-1. Canada has yet to beat a European side in Women's World Cup play (0-7-0).
• Nigeria has won eight of the nine African Women's Championships, including 2010, and is one of seven countries to qualify for all six Women's World Cups. France had the most dominant qualifying run of any team in the field, going 11-0-1 with a plus-51 goal difference (53 goals for, 2 goals against), posting clean sheets in each of its first 11 qualifying matches.
• This is the first-ever meeting between Nigeria and France, and Nigeria will be hoping it goes better than its previous encounters with European sides in the Women's World Cup. Nigeria is 1-5-1 all time against European opponents with a minus-15 goal difference (5 goals for, 20 goals against). France did not face an African side in its one previous Women's World Cup appearance in 2003, when it went 1-1-1 with a minus-1 goal difference (2 goals for, 3 goals against).