Mexico v Ecuador
Miyago Stadium (Capacity: 49,133)
Group G – Miyagi, Japan – 3:30 p.m. local time
Live on ESPN2 at 2:25 a.m. ET
After Croatia’s 2-1 win over Italy, Mexico can jump to the top of Group G with a result against Ecuador. Ecuador, 2-0 losers to Italy in the opening round, need a result to avoid elimination.
Mexico was impressive in their 1-0 opening win over Croatia. Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored from the penalty spot for the game’s only goal, and Oscar Perez made several key saves in the net to preserve the shutout and the win.
Ecuador was never really in the game against Italy, as the Italians scored twice in the first half before taking their foot off the pedal and coasting to the win in the second half.
It may be difficult to comprehend now, but Ecuador finished second in South American qualifying, ahead of Paraguay, Brazil and others. While Brazil cruised to two wins and Paraguay took leads in each of their first two games, Ecuadorare still looking for their first goal and need a point to avoid elimination.
Ecuador are one of four teams to appear in their first World Cup in Korea/Japan. Two of those teams (China, Slovenia) have already been eliminated, will Ecuador join them after facing Mexico?
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in CONCACAF Final Group (5-3-2; 16 GF, 9 GA)
2001 Overall Record: 11-12-4
World Cup final appearances: 12 – 1930 (13th), 1950 (12th), 1954 (13th), 1958 (16th), 1962 (11th), 1966 (12th), 1970 (6th), 1978 (16th), 1986 (6th), 1994 (13th), 1998 (13th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 8-19-10
Manager: Javier Aguirre (MEX)
Championship Honors: 1999 Confederations Cup champions; 1993, 1996 & 1998 Gold Cup champions
World Cup Roster
1-Oscar Perez, 2-Francisco Gabriel De Anda,3-Rafael Garcia, 4-Rafael Marquez, 5-Manuel Vidrio, 6-Gerardo Torrado, 7 -Ramon Morales, 8-Alberto Garcia Aspe, 9-Jared Borgetti, 10-Cuauhtemoc Blanco,
11-Braulio Luna, 12-Oswaldo Sanchez, 13-Sigifredo Mercado, 14-German Villa, 15-Luis Hernandez, 16-Salvador Carmona, 17-Francisco Palencia, 18-Joahan Rodriguez, 19-Gabriel Caballero, 20-Melvin Brown, 21-Jesus Arellano, 22 -Alberto Rodriguez, 23-Jorge Campos
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in CONMEBOL Final Group (9-5-4; 23 GF, 20 GA)
2001 Overall Record: 6-4-4
World Cup final appearances: 1 – 2002
Overall Record in WC: First appearance
Manager: Hernan Dario Gomez (COL)
World Cup Roster
1-José Francisco Cevallos, 12-Oswaldo Johvani Ibarra, 22-Daniel Viteri, 2-Augusto Poroso, 3-Iván Hurtado, 4-Ulises De La Cruz, 6-Raul Guerron, 8-Luis Gomez, 15-Marlon Ayoví, 17-Geovanni Espinoza, 23-Walter Ayoví, 5-Alfonso Obregon, 7-Nicolás Asencio, 10-Alex Aguinaga, 14-Juan Carlos Burbano, 16-Cléber Chalá, 19-Edmundo Mendez, 20-Edwin Tenorio, 21-Wellington Sánchez, 9-Iván Kaviedes, 11-Agustín Delgado, 13-Angel Fernández, 18-Carlos Tenorio
Japan v Russia
International Stadium (Capacity: 70,654)
Group H – Yokohama, Japan – 8:30 p.m. local time
Live on ESPN at 7:25 a.m. ET
Japan are under tremendous pressure in tomorrow’s match against Group H leaders Russia. Co-host Korea’s impressive win made that team the toast of Asia, a tag that belonged to Japan prior to the World Cup. And now Japan needs a result against Russia to help push them toward the second round.
Midfielder Junichi Inamoto, who scored Japan's second goal in their 2-2 draw with Belgium, said that the match against Russia could be even more important than the draw against Belgium.
"Tomorrow's result could be the key to us going through or not, so it's vital to get something out of it,' said Inamoto. “We all know that and we are even more up for this one than we were for the Belgium game.”
Japan enter the game knowing they may be without the services of captain Ryuzo Morioka, who faces a fitness test ahead of Sunday's group H game. Morioka has a bruised ankle and a bruise on his thigh. His replacement against Belgium, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, was beat badly for the second goal.
Russia did what was needed to secure a win in their opener against Tunisia. Egor Titov opened the scoring in the 59th minute, and Valery Karpin added the second five minutes later from the penalty spot. Karpin was impressive all afternoon long, controlling the game from the middle of the field. His play against a solid Japan team could prove to be the key to the match.
2002 World Cup qualifying: Qualified as co-host
World Cup final appearances: 2 – 1998 (31st), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 0-3-0
Manager: Philippe Troussier (FRA)
Championship Honors: 1992 & 2000 Asian Cup champions
World Cup Roster
1-Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, 12-Seigo Narazaki, 23-Hitoshi Sogahata, 2-Yutaka Akita, 3-Naoki Matsuda, 4-Ryuzo Morioka, 6-Toshihiro Hattori, 16-Koji Nakata, 17-Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, 5-Junichi Inamoto,7-Hidetoshi Nakata, 8-Hiroaki Morishima, 14-Alessandro Santos, 15-Takashi Fukunishi, 18-Shinji Ono, 19-Mitsuo Ogasawara, 20-Tomokazu Myojin, 21-Kazuyuki Toda, 22-Daisuke Ichikawa, 9-Akinori Nishizawa, 10-Masashi Nakayama, 11-Takayuki Suzuki, 13-Atsushi Yanagisawa,
FIFA Ranking: 24th (tied)
2002 World Cup qualifying: Won UEFA “Group 1” (7-1-2; 18 GF, 5 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 9 – 1958 (7th), 1962 (6th), 1966 (4th), 1970 (5th), 1982 (7th), 1986 (10th), 1990 (17th), 1994 (18th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 16-12-6
Manager: Oleg Romantsev (RUS)
Championship Honors: 1960 European Cup champion; 1956 & 1988 Olympic champions (all as Soviet Union)
World Cup Roster
1-Rusian Nigmatullin, 12-Stanislav Cherchesov, 23-Alexander Filimonov, 2-Yuri Kovtun, 3-Yuri Nikiforov, 5-Andrei Solomatin, 7-Viktor Onopko, 13-Vyacheslav Dayev, 14-Igor Chugainov, 18-Dmitry Sennikov, 4-Alexei Smertin, 6-Igor Semshov, 8-Valeri Karpin, 9-Yegor Titov, 10-Alexandr Mostovoi, 15-Dmitri Alenichev, 17-Sergei Semak, 20-Marat Izmailov, 21-Dmitri Khokhlov, 11-Vladimir Beschastnykh, 16-Alexander Kerzhakov, 19-Rusian Pimenov, 22-Dmitry Sychev
Costa Rica v Turkey
Incheon World Cup Stadium (Capacity: 52,179)
Group C - Incheon, Korea – 6 p.m. local time
Live on ESPN2 at 4:55 a.m. ET
After Brazil’s win against China, this match is shaping up as an elimination match, with the winner joining Brazil in the next round.
Costa Rica topped group minnow China 2-0 in the opener, but were less than impressive for most of the match. Costa Rica that they must improve to top Turkey, who are playing in their first World Cup in 48 years, the third longest span for a country between World Cups (behind Egypt and Norway at 56 years).
Only a questionable penalty call kept Turkey from earning a draw with Brazil in the opener. Brazil outplayed Turkey, but an outstanding performance from goalkeeper Rustu Recber kept the Europeans in the match.
Turkey’s defense was shredded by Brazil, but Recber’s amazing play kept the match close. The defense needs to do better on Sunday if they hope to move closer to round two. Their offense is led by Hakan Sukur, who scored six goals during qualifying.
Costa Rica qualified for their second World Cup by winning CONCACAF with a record 23 points. The looked hot in 2002, but have hit a run of bad form coming into Korea. Paolo Wanchope and Rolando Fonseca will be looked to for offense – each led Costa Rica with four goals and five goals, respectively, in final round qualifying. In 1990, Costa Rica became the first Central American country to advance past the first round.
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished first in CONCACAF Final Group (7-1-2; 17 GF, 7 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 2 – 1990 (13th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 2-2-0
Manager: Alexander Guimares (CRC)
World Cup Roster
1-Erick Lonnis, 18-Alvaro Mesén, 23-Lester Morgan, 2-Jervis Drummond, 3-Luis Marín, 4-Mauricio Wright, 5-Gilberto Martínez,14-Juan Jose Rodriguez, 15-Harold Wallace, 21-Pablo Chinchilla, 22-Carlos Castro, 6-Wilmer López, 8-Mauricio Solis, 10-Wálter Centeno,13-Daniel Vallejo, 19-Rodrigo Cordero, 7-Rolando Fonseca, 9-Paulo Wanchope, 11-Rónald Gómez, 12-Winston Parks, 16-Steven Bryce, 17-Hernan Medford, 20-William Sunsing.
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in UEFA “Group 4” (6-1-3; 18 GF, 8 GA); defeated Austria in home-and-home playoff 5-0 on aggregate score.
World Cup final appearances: 2 – 1954 (9th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 1-2-0
Manager: Senol Gunes (TUR)
World Cup Roster
1-Rustu Recber, 12-Omer Catkic, 23-Zafer Ozgultekin, 2-Emre Asik, 3-Bulent Korkmaz, 4-Fatih Akyel, 5-Alpay Ozalan, 16-Umit Ozat, 7-Okan Buruk, 8-Tugay Kerimoglu, 10-Yildiray Basturk, 13-Muzzy Izzet, 14-Tayfur Havutcu, 18-Ergun Penbe, 19-Abdullah Ercan, 20-Hakan Unsal, 21-Emre Belozoglu, 22-Umit Davala, 6-Arif Erdem, 9-Hakan Sukur, 11-Hasan Gokhan Sas, 15-Nihat Kahveci, 17-Ilhan Mansiz.