The buzz: Colombia is back in the World Cup after a four-year break, qualifying in last summer’s Copa América Femenina, where it finished second to Brazil. But its stay in Australia got off to a rough start when its penultimate World Cup warm-up was abandoned after 20 chippy minutes that ended with Ireland’s Denise O’Sullivan on her way to the hospital with a shin injury. (She recovered in time to play in Ireland’s tournament opener.)
Since the Copa América, Colombia has lost just twice in 14 games and its roster includes Real Madrid teenager Linda Caicedo, one of the best young players in the world. She’ll likely be paired up front with Catalina Usme, Colombia’s all-time leading scorer. South Korea won just one game in three previous trips to the World Cup and warmed up for this one with three consecutive wins, beating Haiti and Zambia twice by a combined 12-3.
Ji So-yun, the county’s all-time leading scorer, is known as Ji Messi at home because of her technical ability. But also watch out for 16-year-old Korean-American Casey Phair, the national team’s first mixed-race player.