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FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup

Stakes high as rivals target last eight

Martha Harris of England shakes hands with Paulina Solis #4 and Greta Espinoza of Mexico
© Getty Images

The moment of truth has arrived in Groups C and D, with hopes of progress accompanying fears of elimination for the teams in contention. Only Nigeria and France enjoy relative security ahead of their final outings, whereas the future hangs in the balance for Group C trio England, Mexico and Korea Republic and Group D sides Paraguay, New Zealand and Costa Rica. With the permutations almost endless, sheds a little light on the situation in both sections.

Match of the day*

Nigeria-England, Edmonton, 13 August, 18.00 (local time)*

Nigeria are the only team in the group to have won a match so far, seeing off Korea Republic last time out thanks to a blistering start and the fastest goal in the history of the competition. That win has left them in a strong position as they prepare to face England, with a single point sufficient to take them through and even a defeat not disastrous providing Mexico fail to overcome Korea Republic. Their European rivals require victory, on the other hand, unless both matches end in draws with the same scoreline. In that case, Nigeria would advance and England would face a drawing of lots with Mexico for the right to join them in the quarter-finals.

The other matches

Almost anything can still happen in Group C, so Mexico will be desperate to take matters into their own hands by downing Korea Republic. That would send them safely through to the last eight, though if they draw they must hope England fail to prevail as well. As for their opponents, the only team in the section to have suffered a loss, they can settle for nothing less than victory while keeping their fingers crossed that Nigeria lose – and even then, they must win by two goals or hope Nigeria lose by two. All clear?

The situation is a little less murky in Group D, especially for section leaders France. Having won both their games and racked up an array of goals in the process, Les Bleuettes can make do with a stalemate against Paraguay, and can even lose as long as New Zealand fail to overtake their goal difference in a success against Costa Rica. In Paraguay's case, they will progress with a win – providing they too maintain their goal-difference superiority over New Zealand – or a draw if the Kiwis miss out on a victory. Lastly, Las Ticas need to prevail by a handsome margin and hope Paraguay lose, with their chances diminished by a pair of reverses thus far. Well, we did say it was complicated.

Player to watchJang Selgi has yet to open her account at Canada 2014, but the Korea Republic captain will be eager to put that right against Mexico and help the Taeguk Ladies claim a ticket to the quarter-finals. Alternatively, the forward could help out in defence if her team look set to advance in the final minutes, drawing on her experience as a full-back when Korea Republic triumphed at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010.

The stat 9 – The number of goals scored by France since the start of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014, making them the most prolific team on show. Paraguay will clearly need to be at their most vigilant, particularly with Claire Lavogez having plundered three goals and served up two assists in just 123 minutes of action.

The words

"After the first game, we were all neck and neck. We will have to put in another hard-fought performance against England. If we play at the same level we managed today, we'll definitely take the three points at the end," Courtney Dike, Nigeria forward.

Match schedule

*Group C

*Korea Republic-Mexico (Toronto, 20.00)

Nigeria-England (Edmonton, 18.00)

Group D

Paraguay-France (Edmonton, 15.00)

Costa Rica-New Zealand (Toronto, 17.00)

(All times local)

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