THE DAY REPLAYED - Several teams’ fates were sealed on the third day of action at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014, with Ghana guaranteed top spot in Group B and a place in the quarter-finals after beating Germany. In Group A, Italy and Venezuela booked their tickets to the knockout phase with victories over Costa Rica and Zambia respectively.
Those results also spelled the end of the line for the latter duo, who will bid farewell to the tournament after the final round of group-stage matches. In Group B, Korea DPR, Canada and Germany are all still in contention for a place in the last eight.
Venezuela 4-0 Zambia
Costa Rica 0-1 Italy
Ghana 1-0 Germany
Korea DPR 1-1 Canada
Dancing to a different beat
The fact that many teams like to sing loudly prior to taking to the pitch has become a familiar feature of this tournament already. That the opposing side would dance to such a melody is an unexpected addition to the pre-game routine, but that is exactly what happened when Venezuela faced Zambia. The Africans gave their best rendition of the 'Chipolopolo Song', the tune sung by the country’s senior men’s team at their triumphant CAF Africa Cup of Nations campaign in 2012. Rather than being intimidated, however, the South Americans began moving rhythmically as their opponents sang.
So near yet so far
Lily Niber Lawrence very nearly scored what would certainly have been the Goal of the Day, if not the Goal of the Tournament, against Germany. The Ghanaian skipped past three players before leaving the goalkeeper on the floor following a wonderful shimmy, but just as she was about to score, the ball slipped away from her and the chance went begging. Lawrence’s outstanding technique and ability on the ball were clear for all to see and the move certainly deserved to end in a goal.
Shortly before the end of Costa Rica’s match against Italy, the first tears were visible on the faces of the hosts’ substitutes and once the final whistle confirmed their elimination, there was no holding back at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose. Costa Rica's whole team broke down, overwhelmed with disappointment, while the side’s coaching staff tried to console the players. It was a touching moment when the crowd gave them a loud ovation in honour of their good performances.
14 - Gabriela Garcia’s hat-trick for Venezuela against Zambia was the 14th treble in the tournament’s history. After firing a blank in her country’s opening game, Garcia - the top scorer during South American qualifying - finally gave a demonstration of her talents on the global stage.
“It’s a very difficult moment but we can’t forget that first and foremost it’s all about the players’ development, and part of that is accepting defeat and moving on. These girls will make good progress in the future.” Costa Rica coach Juan Diego Quesada
Wednesday 19 March 2014 (local time)
Group C (Tibas)
New Zealand-Spain, 17:00
Group D (Alajuela)
Mexico-China PR, 17:00