World Cup games today

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Russia vs. Ghana

Site: Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.

Time: 7:15 p.m.

Players to watch: Lone striker Natalia Barbachina of Russia was the player of the game in an opening 2-1 victory against Australia. For Ghana, which lost 1-0 to China in its opener, goalkeeper Memunatu Sulemana kept the result respectable as the Chinese had 15 shots, five on goal.

Quick look: This is a pivotal game for second place in the group. Ghana, despite its loss, is upbeat, considering it lost to China four years ago by 7-0 and only a goal this time. Russian coach Yuri Bystritsky, whose team reached the quarterfinals in 1999, was relieved his team found its game in the second half against Australia.

- Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times

China vs. Australia

Time: 10 p.m.

Site: Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.

Players to watch: Australia forward Kelly Golebiowski gave the Matildas a 1-0 lead and much-needed momentum in the 38th minute against Russia. China's world revolves around forward Sun Wen, who needs two goals to pass American Michelle Akers' World Cup career record of 12.

Quick look: If you think Australia was heartbroken after outplaying Russia but losing, 2-1, imagine the Matildas' mood entering their game against a refocused China. China coach Ma Liangxiang said he was looking to a better outing from his squad after a harder-than-expected 1-0 opening victory against Ghana.

- Paul Gutierrez, L.A. Times

Sweden vs. North Korea

Site: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

Time: 4:30 p.m.

Players to watch: Sweden's Hanna Ljungberg suffered an ankle/shin injury against the United States. North Korea's Pyol Hui Jin was the star of her team's opener.

Quick look: This should be very interesting, with both teams able to play physically and North Korea maybe being quicker.

- Gary R. Blockus, The Morning Call

U.S. vs. Nigeria

Site: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

Time: 7:25 p.m.

Players to watch: Mia Hamm, the most recognizable face in all of women's sports, assisted on all three U.S. goals last Sunday. Midfielder Shannon Boxx is the first U.S. woman to score times in her first three international games. For the Nigerians, Florence Iweta and Mercy Akida were both injured against North Korea but are expected to play tonight.

Quick look: This should be a physical U.S. win, but the Americans trail North Korea in the group standings based on goal differential. Wins today will qualify both the United States and North Korea for quarterfinal berths.

- Gary R. Blockus, The Morning Call

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