Group C / Women's World Cup

World Cup Preview: Group C

Teams:  Japan, Switzerland, Cameroon, Ecuador

Group C features reigning World Cup champion Japan and three World Cup debutantes. It should be an easy path to the Round of 16 for Japan with the Swiss likely finishing second. Switzerland is one of the strongest teams making its World Cup debut and while the Swiss shouldn’t be underestimated, the side isn’t as deep as the Japanese.

 

japanJapan
FIFA Ranking: 4
Last World Cup: 2011 – Champions
Best World Cup finish:  An incredible run led the Japanese to winning the 2011 World Cup, surprising even the Japanese coaching staff.

Roster

The reigning World Cup champions are poised to exit the group stage with nine points. It’s unlikely the Japanese will repeat their incredible 2011 run, but nonetheless the squad is a top-tier team who won’t find this group a challenge. Prior to the Nadeshiko winning five games in the 2011 World Cup the squad had won three games in all previous five World Cup appearances combined.

Players to Watch: Yuki Ogimi, M Homare Sawa

Ogimi is one of the most physical players on a very technical Japanese squad. She has made 115 appearances for the Nadeshiko, scoring 52 goals. The 27-year old plays for VfL Wolfsburg and has previously played with Chelsea and FFC Turbine Potsdam, where she won the Champions League in 2010.

The 36-year old Sawa announced her retirement after the 2012 Olympics but is back with the team for her sixth World Cup. She has been limited by injuries and isn’t a consistent starter but her veteran leadership and the respect among the players she commands will be key for Japan.

Key Match-up:  Japan vs Switzerland (June 8, 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1)

This match will be the strongest competition each team gets during the group stage and almost certainly determine the group winner.

 

SwitzerlandSwitzerland:
FIFA Ranking: 19
Last  World Cup:  2011 – Did not qualify, this will be Switzerland’s first World Cup
Best World Cup finish: 
N/A

 

Roster

One of the strongest World Cup debutantes, Switzerland is poised to make it to the knockout round. The Swiss have a strong core of talented players but lack the depth and overall talent to finish out matches, especially in a tournament. This will be Switzerland’s first World Cup despite never having qualified for a European Championship.

Player to Watch: M Lara Dickenmann, F Ramona Bachmann

The 29-year old Dickenmann brings versatility and experience to the team and is the second most capped active Swiss players with 99 caps. In 99 appearances, she has scored 40 times. She plays her club soccer for Olympique Lyonnais and has been with the club since 2009 and won seven straight league titles. Dickenmann scored ten goals during World Cup qualifying.

Some WPS fans may remember Bachmann, the then-19-year-old being a dangerous attacking player for the Atlanta Beat. Bachmann, now 24, has appeared for her country 61 times and has scored 33 goals.

Key Match-up:  Japan vs Switzerland (June 8, 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1)

This match will be the strongest competition each team gets during the group stage and almost certainly determine the group winner. It is also the opener for the Swiss and it will be interesting to see how they fare in their first time on the biggest of stages.

 

ecuadorEcuador:
FIFA Ranking: 48
Last World Cup: 2011 – Did not qualify.  Ecuador is making its World Cup debut this summer but competed in the 2007 Pan-American games and six South American championships.
Best World Cup finish:  N/A

Roster

After a 0-0 first leg against Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador scored in stoppage time of the second leg to qualify for its first Women’s World Cup. The altitude can only do so much for fitness and Ecuador will need to win a difficult game against Cameroon in order to have a chance at third place in the group.

Player to Watch: Ambar Torres

Torres, a 20-year old forward, has scored ten times in 23 caps for the Ecuador senior team. She earned her first call-up at the age of twelve and made her debut two years later. Like the rest of her teammates, she plays for an Ecuadorian club. Torres is the leading goal scorer amongst the Ecuadorian World Cup roster.

Key Match-up:  Cameroon vs Ecuador (June 8, 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 2)

The first Group C game will provide the greatest parity for these two teams, but even a win is unlikely to grant the team a berth in the Round of 16.

 

cameroonCameroon:
FIFA Ranking: 53
Last World Cup:  2011 – Did not qualify.  This will be Cameroon’s debut at the World Cup. In the 2012 Olympics, the team lost all three games.
Best World Cup finish:  N/A

Roster

While the team posted a goal differential of -10 in three Olympic games, the defense allowed only four goals in its five qualifying matches. But “Les Lionnes” are in a group that include the reigning World Cup champions and underdog Switzerland which will test the team’s defense. It’s unlikely that the team will be one of the four third place winners to advance, but surprising results against Japan and Switzerland could make it happen.

Players to Watch: F Madeleine Ngono Mani

Ngono Mani is the veteran of the Cameroon squad with 38 goals in 72 caps. The 5-foot-2 forward played with the French club En Avant Guingamp from 2011 to 2013 and now plays with the French club Claix Football. The 31-year old provides experience on a side with an average age of 25.

Key Match-up:  Cameroon vs Ecuador (June 8, 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 2)

The first Group C game will provide the greatest parity for these two teams, but even a win is unlikely to grant the team a berth in the Round of 16.

Complete Group C Schedule:

June 8

Cameroon vs. Ecuador (FOX Sports 2, 7 p.m. ET)
Japan vs. Switzerland (FOX Sports 1, 10 p.m. ET)

June 12

Switzerland vs. Ecuador (FOX Sports 1, 7 p.m. ET)
Japan vs. Cameroon (FOX Sports 1, 10 p.m. ET)

June 16

Ecuador vs. Japan (FOX Sports 1, 5 p.m. ET)
Switzerland vs. Cameroon (FOX Sports 2, 5 p.m. ET)

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