Morocco will become first Arab team to play at a Women’s World Cup when they take on Germany in Group H.
When: Monday, July 24
Where: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne
Kickoff: 6:30pm local time (08:30 GMT)
Months after the men’s groundbreaking run to the semi-finals in Qatar, Morocco’s women will make World Cup history of their own on Monday.
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When the Atlas Lionesses face two-time former champions Germany in Melbourne, they will be the first Arab team to play at a Women’s World Cup.
Morocco’s women enjoyed a surprise run to the final of last year’s Africa Cup of Nations, which they hosted, before losing 2-1 to South Africa in front of some 50,000 spectators in Rabat.
At 72nd place, they are one of the lowest-ranked teams in Australia and New Zealand and it would be a surprise if they qualify from the group, but captain Ghizlane Chebbak knows the men have raised expectations.
“Moroccan fans have that passion, as do us players, and we will give everything to make them satisfied,” she told FIFA.com.
“The men have shown us that nothing is impossible if you fight for it and you stay focused,” she added.
Meanwhile, second-ranked Germany are aiming to win their third Women’s World Cup title and first since 2007.
Germany’s coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg expects a difficult group stage at the tournament, with South Korea and Colombia also featuring in Group H, but still has the title as her main goal.
“But there’s no guarantee of that. That was evident in the tournament opener: two games decided by details. It will be the same for us, already in the group stage,” she said.
Germany team news
Germany are set to start their Women’s World Cup campaign without key players Lena Oberdorf and Marina Hegering due to injury. They are likely to be replaced by Chelsea players Sjoeke Nuesken and Melanie Leupolz.
Morocco team news
Morocco have not announced any absences.
Form and FIFA world rankings
Germany (ranked second): D W L W L
Morocco (ranked 72nd): L L D D L
Head to head
It will be the first-ever game between Germany and Morocco.
Players to watch
Germany: Captain and goal machine Alexandra Popp is one of the biggest stars in German sport having won every prize at club level, including two Champions Leagues with Wolfsburg. Despite injury setbacks, Popp has scored 62 goals in 128 appearances for Germany.
Morocco: Star striker Rosella Ayane scored the penalty that clinched the World Cup spot. She opted to play for her father’s home country rather than England and scored seven goals in her first 15 international matches.
Where to watch the game?
Global listings are available from livesoccertv.com.
You can also follow our live blog on the match day.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES