Women's World Cup - Germany seek hat-trick
Sun, 26 Jun 10:31:00 2011
Holders Germany launch their bid for an unprecedented hat-trick of women's World Cup titles when they take on Canada in the opening game on home soil on Sunday.
The 2003 and 2007 winners can count on noisy home backing with organisers having already sold 80 percent of the 900,000 tickets for the June 26-July 17 tournament.
"We have a dream and that is to win the title at home. We will do everything to make it come true," said Germany coach Silvia Neid, who extended her contract to 2016 only days ago.
"It is special to have the World Cup at home. I will try to enjoy every moment of it and hopefully we will be there until the end."
In recent weeks Germany's players and their coach have seen their faces splashed across the front pages of newspapers. Public viewing areas for the matches have been set up in cities to accommodate large groups of fans.
"World Cup winners," said German president Christian Wulff, when asked how far Germany could go in the tournament. "I expect fair and interesting games and I obviously hope that our team can make the final and win it."
Wulff will join German Chancellor Angela Merkel and 70,000 fans in the stands of Berlin's Olympic stadium on Sunday, hoping Germany will hit the ground running.
Top-ranked United States, twice winners in the past and the reigning Olympic champions, will offer tough resistance in the 16-team tournament, as will Brazil, led by five-time world player of the year Marta, in search of their first title.
"If we are at our best there is not a team in the world that can beat us," said American forward Abby Wambach. "This team has heart and the will and the desire to win."
Women World Cup : Team Ger