The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan 2012 ended on Saturday with France crowned champions and the individual awards handed out. FIFA.com rounds up who won what.
adidas Golden Ball: Griedge Mbock Bathy (FRA)
adidas Silver Ball: Ri Hyang-Sim (PRK)
adidas Bronze Ball: Yui Hasegawa (JPN)
For the first time in the history of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup a defender made off with the player of the tournament award. Griedge Mbock Bathy was the player in question, having made a monumental contribution to France’s overall success.
An ever-present throughout the tournament, featuring in all six games, she showed every facet demanded of the modern-day defender: strength, an ability to score when the opportunity arises, coolness under pressure and a gift for bringing the ball out of defence. Those skills all came to the fore in Saturday’s Final, when she stood tall to spur the French on to victory.
After collecting the award, the colossal Mbock Bathy had this to say: "I don’t know if I deserve this or not, but I do know I’ve had to fight hard to get this far. I picked up an injury just before the start of the tournament and I found it hard to get back to full fitness. All I can say is that I’m very grateful for this award and for being the first defender to step up to collect it."
Ri Hyang-Sim was consistency personified throughout the tournament and played a key part in Korea DPR’s run to the Final. As well as scoring goals, she also provided assists for her team-mates, bringing them into play at every opportunity and working selflessly for the team. Her support play, dribbling and pinpoint crosses have been a highlight of Azerbaijan 2012.
Yui Hasegawa collected a deserved award on behalf of the Young Nadeshiko. With her vision, sublime technique and eye for goal, the 15-year-old epitomised Japan’s stylish play, and her strike against Mexico in the group phase was one of the goals of the tournament.
adidas Golden Boot: Ri Un-Sim (PRK)
adidas Silver Boot: Chinwendu Ihezuo (NGA)
adidas Bronze Boot: Halimatu Ayinde (NGA)
Ri Un-Sim was the main reason why Korea DPR came within an inch of regaining the title they won at New Zealand 2008, scoring a hugely impressive eight goals to match the tournament record set by Korea Republic’s Yeo Minji at Trinidad and Tobago 2010.
Her goalscoring instinct proved crucial in the group games with France and USA and against Canada in the quarter-finals, and such was her eye for goal that she found the back of the net in every game in the competition bar the semi-final against Germany.
Chinwendu Ihezuo’s haul of six goals and Halimatu Ayinde’s four helped make Nigeria the third-highest scoring team in the competition. The former led the way with five goals in the group-phase demolition of the hosts, but just as important was Ayinde’s contribution in attack. Both showed remarkable speed, power and a nose for goal.
adidas Golden Glove: Romane Bruneau
The whole world now knows all about the French goalkeeper’s many qualities: good positioning, sharp reflexes, speed off the line and bags of personality, a virtue she displayed once again in the penalty shoot-out that decided the Final.
As well as keeping out two spot-kicks, the French custodian had the guts to step up and take her side’s fifth penalty, revealing the self-same courage she showed in making decisive contributions in the group games with Korea DPR and USA.
"She deserves this award more than anyone else," said her team-mate Mbock Bathy.
"When they told me I’d won the Golden Glove I thought it was a joke," said the winner herself. "It’s not real. It’s magical. I never thought I’d win a prize like this. I just can’t describe how I feel."
FIFA Fair Play Award: Japan
Though they went out in the quarter-finals, Japan richly deserved this award for their exemplary behaviour throughout the tournament, accepting victory and defeat with equal good grace and proving sporting opponents at all times.
The FIFA Fair Play Award is presented on the basis of a detailed assessment by FIFA’s Technical Study Group of the behaviour of teams both on and off the pitch. The aim of the award is to promote sportsmanship between players, coaching staff and spectators at FIFA tournaments.