Group A: Holders head intriguing blend

Group A of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010 promises to be a fascinating one. Joining the host nation in the pool are defending champions Korea DPR, second-time finalists Nigeria and debutants Chile, a mix that should provide plenty of entertainment and suspense when the ball starts rolling on Sunday.

The road to T&T
Trinidad and Tobago: The Soca Princesses qualified automatically as tournament hosts.

Chile: Absent from New Zealand 2008, Las Rojitas are making their maiden appearance in the finals after battling through to the final of the South American qualifying competition. Topping a tough section featuring Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay, the Chileans then beat Paraguay 4-1 in the semis before being brought back down to earth by a 7-0 defeat to Brazil in the final.

Nigeria: The Flamingoes became the first African team to reach the finals courtesy of a comprehensive aggregate defeat of South Africa in the final qualifying round. Running out 5-0 winners in a one-sided first leg on home soil, the Nigerians followed up with a 2-1 victory in the return.

Korea DPR: The holders teed up their title defence by reaching the final of the AFC championship. Kicking off with easy wins over Thailand and Myanmar, they drew with Korea Republic in their final group game before edging out Australia 4-3 in a thrilling semi-final. Their place at Trinidad and Tobago secure, they then went down 4-0 to their southern neighbours in the final.

The big match
Korea DPR-Trinidad and Tobago
The hosts take on the reigning champions in the final round of group games. While the home favourites will be determined to put on a good show in front of their fans, the North Koreans will have nothing on their minds but defending the title they won in New Zealand two years ago, as coach Ri Song-Gun has already confirmed: “The girls are here for one thing only, and that’s to win and give the people back home some more good news.” T&T coach Even Pellerud’s ambitions are somewhat more modest: “Our aim is to progress beyond the first round, and I’m convinced my players will do whatever it takes to achieve just that.”

Did you know?
Trinidad and Tobago have gone to every effort to make their challenge on home soil a successful one, recruiting the services of former Norway and Canada national team coach Pellerud. Persuading him to signed a four-year contract, the Trinidadian FA have given the Norwegian a wide-ranging brief as a national supremo responsible for every level of the women’s game on the islands.