Other than the host country of Germany, the most formidable team in the 2011 Women's World Cup kicks off today with Group C action as the United States takes on North Korea as the heavy favorites to emerge from a foursome that's much more loaded than yesterday's Group B. The U.S. is the only other country besides Germany to have won the Women's World Cup twice (1991, 1999) and they're considered one of the favorites this year as well. But Sweden is also included in Group C, a team that finished second in 2003 and should look good against the major underdog Columbia in this morning's opening action.
Group winners and runners-up qualify for the quarterfinals, so it would be a major upset if the United States and Sweden didn't both advance. This is Columbia's first time, meanwhile, in the Women's World Cup, so there's no pressure on the team to perform. Perhaps that plays in their favor.
ESPN will carry both of today's games all morning long in HD with the Sweden vs. Columbia match kicking off coverage starting at 8:45 ET/7:45 CT. The coverage for the second match featuring United States vs. North Korea begins at 11:45am ET/10:45 CT. Germany is six hours ahead of Eastern time, which puts the matches at 3pm and 6pm local time.
Current Odds For Group C
United States - 1/2
Sweden - 2/1
North Korea - 10/1
Columbia - 30/1