THE DAY REPLAYED -Ghana pulled off a huge shock in Arima as they earned their first win of the finals against favourites Brazil. Forcing Canarinha goal queen Glaucia on to the fringes of the game, the Africans were every bit deserving of their gritty victory. The result combines with the other Group D match, a 1-0 win for the Irish over Canada, to set up a mouth-watering final matchday with all four teams precariously balanced on three points.
Over in Group C action in Couva, Japan shook off the disappointment of their loss against Spain to hammer Venezuela 6-0. And with the Spaniards making easy meat of New Zealand, there is all to play for on the final day. New Zealand, on zero points, will need something akin to a miracle to get through while Spain are likely to march on to the quarter-finals, their six points putting them on top. But with all technically still alive, nerves are bound to be jangling.
Goal of the day
New Zealand 1-3 Spain, Sara Merida (48’)
Sister of Atletico Madrid ace Fran Merida, Sara has been lighting up these Caribbean finals. And she was in no mood to take her foot off the accelerator after playing a blinder in Spain’s first game, scoring a peach of a free-kick against New Zealand. With the game tangled at 1-1 she stepped up and fired from the left corner of the box and curled the ball past the formidable figure of Chloe-May Geurts. “I had a great coach when I was young,” the striker, just 17, told FIFA.com after the game. “I take free-kicks very seriously and get extremely focused.”
Siobhan Killeen has distinguished herself as one of the long-range experts at these U-17 finals in the Caribbean. She scored a cracker from outside the box, low and hard in a losing effort against Brazil in the Republic’s opener, and she showed she can go high against Canada. After collecting the ball outside the penalty area, she took her time and curled a beauty into the top corner. It wasn’t hard, but it was a perfectly placed winner for the Irish.
Usually it’s the losing team shedding tears at the final whistle, but Ghana’s Felicia Djabaah was so overcome with the emotion of beating Brazil that she collapsed on the pitch and sobbed inconsolably. The hard-working midfielder needed to be helped to her feet by her team-mates, most of them wearing huge smiles and delighting in a major accomplishment.
0 – The number of goals scored by Brazil in their second T&T 2010 game against Ghana. Considering they bagged no less than 40 in qualifying – tops in all global preliminaries – one wonders if the South American champions have run out of ideas in the attacking third.
What they said
“Nothing worked for us today, and this will hurt our goal difference. But anything is possible in this group on the final day. We will fight to the death and we will have a calculator in our hands. I am still confident!” Venezuela coach Kenneth Zseremeta inspires a standing ovation from Venezuelan media at the press conference following their 6-0 loss to Japan.