WNT Aug 18, 2012
New Zealand and Switzerland will actually be the first two teams to kick a ball, preceding the Japan-Mexico game in Miyagi.
Prior to Japan-Mexico, there will be an Opening Ceremony that will begin with with traditional performances of the Tohoku region, a region severely damaged by the earthquake and tsunami last March, in order to express gratitude to the world for their immediate and continuous support.
"Suzume Odori", a dynamic local Sendai dance passed down from the 17th century, will theatrically launch the beginning of the performance. A traditional Tohoku band, consisting of Tsugaru Shamisen musicians and Japanese drummers, especially formed for this ceremony, will follow creating electrifying music symbolising recovery.
The ten minute opening ceremony will conclude with approximately 100 local boys and girls raising the flags of the participating nations and a large symbol flag.
The festivities, featuring many local performers, will reflect Japan's firm confident towards recovery, and underline several meanings of the tournament slogan "Hope Leads"
At half-time of the game Japan vs. Mexico fans will be able to see three of their heroes from the Japanese Women's National Team. Right after the half time whistle, the Olympic silver medallist coach Norio Sasaki, together with the Nadeshiko players Aya Miyama, who is also tournament ambassador, and goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto will be celebrated in Miyagi Stadium.
In Group B, Brazil faces Italy in an intriguing encounter while Nigeria and the Korea Republic face off in a match of two teams that have done very well in youth competitions in recent years.