THE DAY REPLAYED - If day one of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010 is anything to go by, the competition should be nothing short of spectacular, with the four opening games producing 21 goals and plenty of excitement.
Proceedings got off to a colourful start with a carnival-style opening ceremony at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, which was immediately followed by a shock as defending champions Korea DPR went down to Nigeria. In a match featuring not one but two comebacks, the Flamingoes struck early only for the North Koreans to fight back and take a 2-1 lead. The Africans saved their best for last, however, replying with two goals in a three-minute burst as the clock ticked down.
The drums were still beating as the tournament hosts took to the stage, kicking off their campaign with an emotional and much-celebrated win over Chile. Over in Tobago meanwhile, Group B began with a bang as Germany opened their title bid with a tournament-record defeat of Mexico. In the second game of the day in Scarborough, an efficient Korea Republic side proved too strong for the willing South Africans, who were cheered on by the vociferous locals but paid dearly for missing a penalty only five minutes in.
Goal of the day
South Africa-Korea Republic, Jermaine Seoposenwe (53)
The Bantwana took a leaf out of the men’s national team’s book when they pulled level against the South Koreans with their maiden goal in the competition. After Seoposenwe had slotted home Robyn Moodaly’s precise through-ball, the South African players peeled off to the touchline to mimic the team celebration that greeted Siphiwe Tshabalala’s goal for the Bafana Bafana against Mexico in the opening game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
The day’s goal feast yielded a whole host of celebratory dance routines and gestures, although none of them were quite as unusual as that of Nigeria striker Yetunde Aluko. While her team-mates kneeled down and hugged each other after every one of their three goals against the North Koreans, Aluko would sprint across and fall down by their side, as if overcome with the emotion of it all.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Filled with music and dance and taking the Trinidadian carnival as its theme, the opening ceremony set a colourful tone for what proved to be an action-packed day. Featuring fireworks, the tournament mascot and the distinctive sound of the country’s steel drum bands, the spectacular scene was capped by the appearance of a rainbow over the stadium.
9-0 - Title candidates Germany sent a message of intent to the rest of the field by racking up the biggest win in the competition’s short history. Their thoroughly impressive demolition of the shell-shocked Mexicans featured hat-tricks from Lena Petermann and Kyra Malinowsky and a Lena Lotzen brace.
What they said
“This is Trinidad and Tobago’s first win in their first-ever appearance in any FIFA Women’s World Cup and it’s a great day for the country. It’s going to give us a tremendous amount of encouragement and a lot of belief in the future of this sport here, although I’m not entirely happy because we didn’t play our best football,” T&T coach Even Pellerud.