A supremely disciplined Korea DPR outfit joined their Southern neighbours in the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago with a 1-0 win at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella in the late game on Thursday. It took a cracker of a goal from Kim Kum Jong on the stroke of half-time to see the defending champions through to the last four as the Germans were held scoreless for the first time at these finals.
The first chance of an uninspired opening period came after nine minutes when Melanie Leupolz fired a curling shot with her left foot from distance that only just slipped the wrong side of Choe Kyong Im’s post and crossbar. The Germans were dictating the patterns in the early going and the Asians were content to sit back and hit out on the occasional counter-attack. The next chance of note came on the quarter-hour with Lena Lotzen – a candidate for best player at these finals – cutting inside and feeding the ball for left-back Jennifer Cramer, overlapping from deep. The FFC Turbine Potsdam player forced the keeper into an uncomfortable save, but the Korean defenders swarmed to snuff out the danger.
Three minutes later Kyra Malinowski saw her header from six yards out go just wide the post before Choe Jong Hwa failed to convert one of the Koreans’ few chances of the first half, hitting over from 12 yards out with German keeper Lena Nuding off her line and in peril. The Germans tried to hit back six minutes prior to the interval, but Leupolz’s header at the back post went agonisingly wide of the target. Just as it looked like the first half would end scoreless, the Koreans scored to put the Germans behind for the first time at T&T 2010. Kim Kum Jong collected the ball about 35 yards from goal and hammered a brilliant strike into the top corner.
The Germans came out battling after the break and inside the first minute Leupolz was firing in a shot. Unfortunately for her it flew right into the torso of the Korean net-minder. Lotzen tried her luck after racing clear in the 58th minute, but she couldn’t generate any power on her shot, which Choe Kyong Im gathered with ease. Then, in the 62nd minute, striker Lena Petermann spurned the chance of the game when she hit wide from three yards out on the end of a corner kick that somehow worked its way through the goalmouth.
The European giants continued to press as the game wore on, but they were unable to break down a supremely disciplined DPR backline. They were being restricted to half-chances and frustration began to mount around the 70-minute mark. In the end, the team that scored 22 goals in their three group matches lost their composure and were unable to find a way past the Korean defensive wall. The East Asians will now move on to play the winner of the Japan versus Republic of Ireland quarter-final in Arima on Friday.