The 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup got off to a perfect start for host nation Trinidad and Tobago, who took advantage of a large and noisy crowd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain to defeat Chile 2-1.
The home side scored in each half through Diarra Simmons and Liana Hinds, before Iona Rothfield pulled one back with seven minutes remaining. Under renowned Norwegian women’s coach Even Pellerud, the host nation impressed throughout with their lively brand of football against a Chile side that seemed to lack ideas in the attacking third.
The Soca Princesses started confidently and Victoria Swift found herself with time and space in the penalty area on eight minutes, but her header cleared the crossbar. The ebullient home crowd had to wait just a minute more for the opener as Simmons collected the ball from a long throw-in and, with her back to goal, she pirouetted and cracked a shot home.
The match settled down after the opener with goalscoring opportunities at a premium, though Simmons and Kayla Taylor were both unable to take advantage of good openings. Francisca Moroso had Chile’s best effort of the first half but was denied by impressive goalkeeper Linfah Jones in a one-on-one situation, with Yanra Aedo unable to score from the follow-up.
Chile commenced the second half with a renewed sense of spirit, though they found themselves up against some dogged and well-organised defence. Maria Urrutia fired a good shot wide ten minutes after the interval in what was one of the more notable efforts from the South Americans.
Trinidad and Tobago had the ball in the net midway through the second period through Jo Marie Lewis, only for the substitute to be called back for a foul on her defender. Ten minutes from full time the home side collected the clinching goal. With goalkeeper Veronica Saez unable to make a clean take from a corner, the ball dropped to Hinds who gleefully tucked it home.
Chile, to their credit, were not swayed from their task and Rothfield hammered a shot from distance that was too hot to handle for Linfah Jones. Lewis could have extended the winning margin during injury time but her shot narrowly cleared the crossbar.
The result was a perfect beginning for the host nation who now must face up to the impressive Nigerians, 3-2 winners against reigning champions Korea DPR, in their next match in Marabella. Chile, hosts of the 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup, will play at the same venue knowing they must take something from their encounter against the Koreans.