Women's World Cup: USA Ready for N.Korea; Record TV Audience for Opener

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Today's matches are: USA v North Korea and Colombia v Sweden (Getty)
(WFI) The USA's clash with North Korea is the highlight of Women's World Cup action today. FIFA says the opening match in Germany set new TV audience records.

World No. 1 ranked USA have played North Korea on three previous occasions on the world stage dating back to 1999. North Korea have come away with only a single point.

A near-capacity crowd is expected at the 22,933-seat Rudolf-Harbig Stadium in Dresden, the easternmost of the nine venues being used for the tournament.

Commenting on Korea DPR, US head coach Pia Sundhage said: "This is a good team. I would say they are a typical Asian team in that they knock the ball around and are very comfortable with the ball.

"I think if you study North Korea very carefully I think you will see the future of the women’s game. By saying that, I mean between the boxes, because they read the game very well and their speed of play is pretty good.”

Sundhage, who was capped 146 times for her native Sweden in an 18-year career, believes women’s football is now in better shape than ever before.

“It’s just fantastic. In 1991, I was in China playing as a sweeper. And what I see, what I saw yesterday, is recognition for women’s soccer," she was quoted on USSoccer.com, a reference to the 73,000 crowd at Sunday's opening match between the host nation and Canada.

"We have so many teams competing for the gold medal, we have quality teams and the best part of women’s soccer nowadays is that everything is happening so fast… it’s not only technique and speed of play, it’s reading the game as well.

"It’s really fun to be part of women’s soccer right now.”

FIFA announced today that an average of 14.1 million viewers in Germany tuned in for the host nation's opening match against Canada.

The match itself, won 2-1 by Germany, achieved an average audience of 15.4 million with a peak-minute audience of 18 million towards the end of the match.

It was a new record for a women's football match in Germany, exceeding the audience that watched the 2003 Women's World Cup final in the USA by 35 per cent.

In today's other match, Colombia play Sweden in Leverkusen.

On Monday, England could only draw 1-1 with Mexico in Wolfsburg, while Japan defeated New Zealand 2-1 in Bochum.

At 38 years and 122 days, Kiwi keeper Jenny Bindon became the second-oldest player ever to appear at the FIFA Women's World Cup, topped only by Brazil's Meg (39 years and 159 days).

Mexico's Cecilia Santiago also made history in becoming the youngest goalkeeper in tournament history at the age of 16 years and 251 days.


By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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