Call it a tune-up match. Call it a preview of the knockout rounds. But in any case, it's just another match between Pia Sundhage's Team USA and Kim Kwang-Min's North Korea on Tuesday, July 31.
With qualification to the knockout stages already sealed, the Stars will aim to go through without a single defeat. As for Chollima, they are in desperate waters and must win in order to stay alive. And with no FIFA World Cup to look forward to until at least 2019, now is the time to deliver for the Great Successor, Kim Jong-Un.
Kickoff at the home of Manchester United, Old Trafford, is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. ET. Here are 10 bold predictions for the match between the USA and North Korea.
Once again, this is another match in which the goals will be flying. And what better place to have this production that at the world-famous Theatre of Dreams, Old Trafford? Look for plenty of goals—over five—from both sides.
With a sense of urgency and desperation about them, Chollima will get the game rolling inside the first 15 minutes. Kim Song-Hui scored a brace in the 39th and 85th minutes against Colombia in a contest that saw the flag of their neighbors displayed by accident, and she will be tabbed to strike on the Americans this time on Tuesday.
Never underestimate the heart of a champion like Abby Wambach. She scored in the 19th minute against their comeback performance against France. She helped the Stars and Stripes leave it late against Colombia. And Wambach will get on the scoresheet yet again, this time against North Korea.
But she won't be the only one that piles it on Chollima...
Alex Morgan is not unfamiliar with scoring braces. She helped lead a scintillating rally against Bruno Bini's Bleus at Hampden Park with a couple of goals. When Morgan has space to work, she wastes no time in putting it home. Look for Morgan to nab her second brace of this tournament against North Korea.
Carli Lloyd is another offensive weapon that has delivered the goods for the USA at London, scoring a goal each against France and Colombia. Like Wambach and Morgan, Lloyd will also score a brace against a North Korean back line that will be dancing with wolves on a late Tuesday afternoon.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo will have a rather quiet afternoon. North Korea have speed, but they don't have any finishers aside from Kim Song-Hui. With France giving Chollima a footballing lesson in Glasgow, Solo won't have to do a lot of work in goal. She will just have to make under five saves in this contest.
North Korea goalkeeper Jo Yun-Mi has been harrowed by the scoring prowess of France but may have an impossible task ahead of her in trying to protect the net from the USA's talent-rich arsenal. Jo will have to make at least five saves to not make the score more lopsided than it will probably end up being.
Ball Possession. Passing accuracy. Duels won. Corner kicks. Crosses. Attempts on goal and shots on target.
This is a complete mismatch on paper, and it will translate to a clear mismatch on the field. The Stars and Stripes will dominate all these categories mentioned on Tuesday at Old Trafford.
This match won't be so physical that North Korea risk having a player sent off. But it will be an intense match between two teams that have aspirations of gold. Look for under 20 fouls and fewer than three yellows called this contest.
The only way this doesn't become the final scoreline is if Pia Sundhage decides to rest her stars later in the contest. But if not, this is going to get real ugly for North Korea. The USA takes this one with authority. A cakewalk. A rout. Put it in the bag.
USA 6, North Korea 1