An opportunistic brace from Kim So Hyang was enough to send Korea DPR into the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Azerbaijan 2012 with a 2-1 semi-final win over Germany in Baku. The Asians, champions at this age category in 2008, will now face France in the ultimate match on 13 October, while the Germans hope for bronze when they take on Ghana in the third-place play-off.
Germany coach Anouschka Bernhard made two changes to her starting eleven, bringing in Ricarda Kießling for Pauline Bremer and Daria Streng for Janina Meissner. And the rust showed for the new-look Europeans, as the Koreans started sharper. Kim So Hyang’s header went just wide of the post in the early seconds, sending a hint of things to come.
The Germans continued to struggle to get to grips with the pace of the game as the first half progressed, with Ri Un Sim controlling possession and dictating the patterns of play with her sharp passing. Vivien Beil had the first chance to score a German goal after 15 minutes, but it came to nothing and was followed up straight-away by a chance at the other end for the rampaging North Koreans. Goal queen Ri Un Sim forced a good save from the keeper.
But the Koreans’ pressure was too intense and Germany’s resistance finally gave way in the 39th minute. Kim So Hyang got on the end of a fortunate deflection and scored the simplest of tap-ins to send the Asians into the locker-room with a deserved edge.
They added to their lead just two minutes after the break. The scorer – again – was Kim So Hyang, who once more took advantage of confusion in the German rearguard to slot home an opportunistic goal. Germany, stunned into response, cut the deficit in half in the 59th minute when Rebecca Knaak headed home a free-kick from Theresa Panfil. But it was all the Germans could muster.
The Koreans now move on to the final of the U-17 women’s showpiece – their second after they finished champions in 2008 – where they will meet France, who beat Ghana earlier in the day.
"I am so happy today. I think our players tried their best today in this match. Germany has very good players on their side and they were a very strong opponent."
Hwang Yong Bong, Korea DPR coach