S. Korea to open FIFA Women’s World Cup against Brazil today

June 9, 2015
(AP file)

Brazil and South Korea will clash for the fourth time today in Canada. (AP file)

(Yonhap) — South Korea will open the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Brazil in Montreal today, hoping to earn its maiden victory at the top women’s competition against the favored opponent.

The kickoff of the Group E showdown will be 4 p.m. PST Tuesday at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, or 8 a.m. Wednesday in Seoul.

Entering this match, South Korea is ranked 18th in the world, while Brazil is at No. 7.

It will be the fourth meeting between the two countries. Brazil has won twice and S. Korea has one once so far.

The Women’s World Cup was first contested in 1991, and Brazil finished third in 1999 and second in 2007.

South Korea is making only its second appearance at the quadrennial event. It lost all three games in its debut in 2003.

Coached by Yoon Duk-yeo, South Korea has set its sights on reaching the knockout stage for the first time. Twenty-four nations have been paired into six groups of four, and the top teams from each group plus three best third-place teams will qualify for the round of 16.

To have a fighting chance against Brazil, South Korea will have to contain forward Marta, the tournament’s all-time leading scorer with 14. The 29-year-old has played in each of the past three World Cups.

South Korea is staking its hopes on Ji So-yun, the dynamic attacker for Chelsea Ladies and the reigning Player of the Year in English women’s football. She leads all South Korean players with 38 goals in 74 matches.

South Korea has played well leading up to the Women’s World Cup. In April, it defeated Russia in back-to-back friendlies at home by the combined score of 3-0. On May 31, South Korea held world No. 2 United States to a scoreless draw in New Jersey, a strong defensive effort that further brightened its prospects in Canada.

Last week, South Korea defeated a U.S. pro club, Sky Blue FC, 5-0 in an unofficial practice match.