Germany, France aim for quarterfinal berths

June, 29, 2011
06/29/11
12:27
PM ET

On Thursday, Group A takes to the pitch in its second round of group-stage matches. Both France and host Germany have an opportunity to clinch a quarterfinal berth.

• France has won once in six friendly matches against Canada and with a win Thursday could clinch its first quarterfinal berth and eliminate the Canadians. However, a win for Canada would leave the two sides level on points, giving Canada the edge because of an easier third group-stage match (Canada plays Nigeria and France plays Germany).

•  Canada is one of four teams since 1999 to advance to the quarterfinals after losing its opening match. It lost to Germany to start the 2003 Women's World Cup and won its next two matches en route to a fourth-place finish, its best finish at the tournament.

•  Despite breaking her nose in the first half of Sunday's game against Germany, Christine Sinclair is expected to play against France, perhaps wearing a protective face mask. The Canadian captain did not let the injury affect her play as she responded with a curling free-kick goal from just outside of the box in the second half.

•  Germany can clinch a spot in the quarterfinals with a win over Nigeria on Thursday and a France win or draw against Canada. Germany enters its first WWC match against an African nation since its first-ever match at the tournament in 1991. Germany is on a World Cup record 13-match unbeaten streak. The host team has not lost a match at the tournament since a 3-2 loss to the United States in the 1999 quarterfinals.

•  Nigeria will look to play the role of giant-killer as it searches for its first win in eight Women's World Cup matches. Nigeria is 1-6-1 all time against European opponents at the Women's World Cup with a minus-16 goal difference (five goals for, 21 goals against) and has 13 WWC losses, the most by a team in the tournament's history.

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