THE DAY REPLAYED – Group B of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup reached its finale with little save for pride and placement at stake. Germany and Korea Republic had already booked their places in the quarter-finals, while South Africa and Mexico were eliminated days before kicking off. In the end, Mexico hammered Bantwana 4-0 for their first points and a bit of consolation, while Germany made sure of top spot in the section with a 3-0 win over the Asians.
The Germans will take on defending champions Korea DPR, who knocked out the hosts in Couva, in their last-eight contest. Korea Republic will have the unenviable task of playing high-flying Group A winners Nigeria. Chile, Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico and South Africa are all heading for home, the first victims of these finals and the football fates.
Goal of the day
Korea-Republic 0-3 Germany, Lena Lotzen (76’)
Germany’s tricky No11 terrorises defences. Taking up a position out left, the Bayern Munich star took on one defender, then another and finally a third, wriggling and cutting her way into the Korean penalty area. She lined up her shot beautifully and left keeper Kim Minah with no chance, bulging the top corner of the net for her fourth goal here in T&T. Germany finish the top of Group B with 22 goals scored and one conceded.
A sea of white and a canine invader
Trinidadian radio DJs urged fans to come out in their numbers to cheer on the Soca Princesses in Couva. As the team were going to be donning white on the night, supporters were urged to skip their usual red and go white as well. Unfortunately for the nearly 10,000 home fans turned up, their presence, nor their white shirts, were enough to push the home side into the quarter-finals. They did, however, seem to get quite a collective giggle out of an energetic spotted dog who invaded the pitch, holding up play for a few funny minutes.
Flamingoes’ options abound
Nigeria’s attack is one of the most potent at these finals, and certainly among the most entertaining. Ordega in attack and Ngozi Okobi feeding her from midfield have an understanding bordering on the telepathic and they seem to find each other on the pitch with an ease and calm uncommon at this age level. They both scored in tonight’s hammering of Chile, while the star of the show was another striker with goals on the brain, Loveth Ayila, who bagged a hat-trick.
17- The number of goals conceded by South Africa and an unwanted record. It stands as the poorest defensive performance of any team in the history of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Paraguay shipped 16 goals in the inaugural tournament in New Zealand two years ago, but Bantwana’s porous rearguard is now the worst of the worst. The two goals scored by Jermaine Seoposenwe in their three games will offer only scant consolation for the tournament debutants.
What they said
“We have to be proud. We never collapsed and we were competitive in every game. Now in Trinidad and Tobago there is a good foundation for the future of women’s football.” T&T head coach and director of women’s football Even Pellerud after his side bowed out.