Goals galore as group phase concludes
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THE DAY REPLAYED – The teams in Group C came flying out of the blocks on this, the sixth and final day of group action at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan 2012. At least seven goals were struck in each encounter, with Japan thrashing Mexico 9-0 and Brazil narrow 4-3 winners over New Zealand.

Both victorious sides thus took their places in a quarter-final line-up subsequently completed by Germany and Ghana from Group D. The European outfit got the better of Uruguay in a 5-2 thriller while the African side beat China PR 2-0 to qualify at their expense.

Results
Group C
Japan 9-0 Mexico
New Zealand 3-4 Brazil

Group D
Germany 5-2 Uruguay
China PR 0-2 Ghana

Goal of the day
New Zealand – Brazil, Brena 26’
With Byanca supplying the ammunition and Brena the finishing touch, the Kiwis had no answer to the Brazilian duo. Out on the right flank, the Auriverde No9 lifted her head before arrowing a superb cross-field ball to her unmarked strike partner, who was loitering with intent just inside the left corner of the New Zealanders’ box. What followed was simply sublime: the latter controlling the ball on her thigh before sending a right-foot volley flashing past the keeper and into the net.

Memorable moments

Japan on cloud nine: Featuring seven different scorers, right-foot goals, left-foot goals, headers, a free-kick effort and a penalty, the Japanese certainly pulled out all the stops when humbling Mexico this Sunday at the Shafa Stadium. The Asian outfit also had a record to celebrate, having never struck so many times in a single FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup match. In addition, their nine goals – added to the 44 they had previously scored in tournament history – cemented Japan’s place as the competition’s most prolific nation.

Football Ferns exit with heads high: Though it proved to be third-time unlucky for New Zealand at Azerbaijan 2012, who have failed to reach the knockout stages on each of their three FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup campaigns, the Football Ferns did at least finish on a high note by ending a 349-minute goalless run. Emily Jensen it was who broke the Kiwis’ drought before her side amassed two further strikes via an Ana Clara own goal and a Martine Puketapu finish. Uruguay too will take some consolation as they head for home, with promising front-runner Yamila Badell notching Las Charrúas’ first-ever goal at a FIFA women’s finals.

Sharing the spoils: The balance of power is growing ever more harmonious at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, with representatives of no fewer than five different confederations (CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, CAF, AFC and UEFA) present and correct in the quarter-finals in Azerbaijan – a competition first. Indeed, at previous editions of the event, there have never been more than three different confederations represented at this stage of proceedings. Yet to join the party are the OFC, however, which remains the only confederation never to have a side in the last eight.

Ayieyam leading from the front: A large portion of the credit for Ghana gaining passage to the quarter-finals must go to gifted No3 Jane Ayieyam. A scorer in the Africans’ opening two Group D games, Ayieyam saved her best for last when finding the net twice in the final section encounter against China PR. What is more, her exploits helped bring an end to a run of three consecutive defeats for CAF nations against their AFC counterparts at this competition – though the Ghanaians must now face on-fire Japan in the next round. 

Stat of the day
4 – It seems like the world’s finest U-17 players certainly know the script, with every duel between Mexico and Japan at this level producing goals galore – at least four per game in fact. Sunday’s match was even more expressive, though extremely one-sided, with the Young Nadeshiko romping to a 9-0 success.  

The words
“We’ve scored three times against Brazil, which is no mean feat. But, at the end of the day, we lost because of the goals we conceded in the first half. We gave it our best shot [after half-time], going three at the back and trying to play more direct, and though that brought us another goal it wasn’t quite enough,” New Zealand coach Paul Temple.

Next up
Quarter-finals (all times are local)

Thursday 4 October
Korea DPR – Canada, 17.00
Nigeria – France, 20.00

Friday 5 October 2012
GermanyBrazil, 17.00
JapanGhana, 20.00