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WWC Group C: Japan, Switzerland, Cameroon, Ecuador

2015 FIFA Women's World Cup schedule: Group C ft. Japan & Switzerland

May 25, 2015 By Michelle Bonsu
Reigning World Cup champions Japan will take on debutant trio Switzerland, Cameroon, and Ecuador in Group C at the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada.

Four years ago, Japan shocked women's football by winning the World Cup. It was, to be honest, a feat quite similar to the men's side Greece during the 2004 EURO tournament. As all eyes were focused on heavyweights Germany making it three straight titles or the United States finally knocking their European opponents off top spot. But meanwhile, the Nadeshiko were quietly navigating their way through the competition, picking off hosts Germany, then Sweden, and finally holding their nerve to power past the USWNT in a penalty shootout to lift the trophy against all odds.

Biggest success story of the tournament: Japan defeated tough trio Sweden, Germany, and the USWNT to be crowned the no. 1 side in women's football at the 2011 World Cup

For the players, it could not have come at a better time. Prior to their historic win, Japan had won just three games in their past five appearances dating back to their first showing in 1991 - and to clinch the title, they won four out of their six total games played. Coming after a tragic earthquake and  tsunami that killed thousands in their country, the team, managed by Norio Sasaki helped to bring some sliver of joy to the Asian nation that summer.

However unlike Greece, Japan have shown that their success was no fluke: in 2012 they won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympic games and clinched the Asian Cup last year - another first in their history. This time around, they will not be the tournament's surprise package and will have an excellent chance to defend their title as they will take on a trio of new teams: Cameroon, Switzerland, and Ecuador in their quartet.

Japan's first opponent, Switerland is one of a few European sides, including Spain and the Netherlands making their debut in this tournament. The team, nicknamed "La Nati" and led by former striker Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, Switerland cruised through their qualifying matches, netting 53 times, conceding just one and earning wins in nine out of their 10 games.

In securing a spot for the competition in Canada this summer, the ladies not only will be participating in their first ever international affair as they failed to make it to either an Olympic Games or a EURO tournament. Their coach is no stranger to the World Cup, having made three appearances as an attacker with Germany in 1991, 1995, and 1999 and she will be counting on this experience to guide her ladies through their first of what will hopefully be many appearances to come.

Switzerland cruised through their qualifiers with 53 goals scored and just one conceded to book their spot in this summer's tournament

As the new girls in the tournament take on last time's dark horses, two other fresh teams will be facing off to try to secure their first ever win at a World Cup. Cameroon, like Côte d'Ivoire are one of two new African teams at this tournament. Managed by Enow Ngatchou, the Lionesses are no stranger to international competition. In the African Women's Championship, they have historically done well, enjoying a runners-up spot last year and finishing third in 2012.

In fact, with the exception of the 1995 and 2000 tournaments, Cameroon have never finished worst than fourth, but this same success has not translated outside of Africa. Their recent foray into the Olympic games three years ago was met with a disheartening failure as they lost all three of their group stage games, scoring just one and conceding 11. As such, they will be keen on finally making their mark on a bigger stage, but will have to deal first with an equally ambitious side in Ecuador.

Dominant on the continent, but not so much on the global stage: Cameroon will be seeking to finally win a game against non-African opposition this summer

Like Cameroon, La Tricolores secured their spot by overcoming the odds. After beating Argentina in a tense 3-2 third-place encounter to finish in third spot in the 2014 Copa América Femenina, they then edged out Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 in the play-offs to set up their first ever appearance in this tournament.

One interesting fact fans will note with this Ecuador side is their youth and tenacity, with the team boasting an average age of just 22. However, unlike fellow young side Thailand, this same youthfulness also extends to their coach. At just 24, Vanessa Arauz is the same age as many of her players and is only a few years older than star striker Giannina Lattanzio, who netted the game winner against Argentina to set up the two-legged tie with Trinidad and Tobago. Monica Quinteros was the one to net the vital goal after the first leg concluded as a 0-0 stalemate.

Ecuador and their young coach are navigating unfamiliar waters for the first time and will aim to shock their fellow quartet this summer

When and Where to watch Group C's Women's World Cup 2015 matches

Who will join reigning World Cup champions in the next round? Will it be Cameroon representing Africa? Young side Ecuador? Or European debutants Switzerland? Make sure you stay informed with news, streaming options, and channel information by bookmarking our FIFA Women's World Cup page on LiveSoccerTV.com.

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