The U.S. and Chinese women's soccer teams are set to play one another in the World Cup for the first time in 16 years Friday in one of the tournament's four quarterfinal matches.
The two teams will clash at Lansdowne Stadium in Ottawa, Ontario, at 7:30 p.m. EDT (11:30 p.m. UTC). They last met in the World Cup in the 1999 final, which the United States won on penalty kicks at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
In recent years, the U.S. women have dominated the Chinese in head-to-head matchups, winning the last 20 meetings and outscoring China during that stretch, 54-8.
Thus far in this World Cup in Canada, the second-ranked Americans have scored only six goals, but their solid defense has gone 333 minutes without allowing a goal.
However, the Americans will be without midfielders Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe in the quarterfinals. Both are out after receiving two yellow cards.
But star U.S. forward Abby Wambach does not seem concerned.
"No matter who they put in, I know they're going to step up," she said. "Whoever it is has to, because we're in the quarterfinals. This is the World Cup. Obviously, you win or you go home, and China's not a team to take lightly.''
The United States finished atop Group D, the so-called "Group of Death," defeating Australia 3-1 and Nigeria 1-0 and playing to a scoreless draw with Sweden. On Monday, the U.S. beat No. 28 Colombia, 2-0, in the knockout round of 16.
China, ranked No. 16, has also displayed a stout defense in the tournament. The Chinese went 1-1-1 in Group A competition, finishing second to host Canada. They scored three goals and allowed three and advanced to the quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory over Cameroon.
Earlier Friday, Germany and France will square off in Montreal, Quebec, in what is widely considered the best match of the quarterfinals.
Third-ranked France suffered a stunning 2-0 loss to Colombia in the group stage but still finished atop Group F before defeating No. 8 South Korea 3-0 in the round of 16. Top-ranked Germany, which finished atop Group B before beating No. 5 Sweden, 4-1, in its opening knockout-round match, has scored a World Cup-best 19 goals while allowing just two.
The other two quarterfinal matches are on Saturday, when defending champion Japan plays 10th-ranked Australia in Edmonton, Alberta, and sixth-ranked England takes on eighth-ranked Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia.