THE DAY REPLAYED - Spain and Japan ended the respective qualification hopes of Group C rivals Venezuela and New Zealand on Monday, checking into the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010 with respective wins. Yet while the Japanese swept the pointless Kiwis aside with a breathless attacking display, La Roja were made to work hard for their third win in the section by a brave but inexperienced Vinotinto team.
The denouement in Group D promised to be a good deal tighter, with all four sides going into the deciding games tied on three points. In the end, though, there was no need to get the calculators out. While Republic of Ireland were putting Ghana to the sword in Tobago, Brazil were doing the same to lacklustre CONCACAF champions Canada in Trinidad, Thais and Paula scoring the goals that sent the relieved Canarinhas into the next round.
Goal of the day
Ghana 0-1 Republic of Ireland, Megan Campbell 5
Megan Campbell had already shown what her right foot can do in the UEFA European Women's U-17 Championship semi-final against Germany, firing home the free-kick that sent the Irish into the final. Just to prove that match-winning strike was no fluke, the centre-half did it again against Ghana on Monday, catching out Black Maidens’ keeper Margaret Otoo from a position 30 metres out on the left touchline. “The keeper was short and we were under instructions to shoot from anywhere,” explained Campbell after her latest dead-ball exploit.
Africa’s penalty curse
The Dwight Yorke Stadium in Scarborough has not brought much luck for Africa’s teams. Last week South Africa’s Mapula Kgoale missed a penalty kick early in her side’s match against Korea Republic there, and on Monday Ghana’s Mary Essiful suffered the same fate at the same venue, sliding a 44th-minute spot-kick wide against the Republic of Ireland.
Tanaka girls at the double
Japan have hit a rich vein of attacking form in their last two matches. Just days after putting six past Venezuela without reply, the Young Nadeshiko repeated the trick against New Zealand. The stars of the show against the Kiwis were the Tanaka girls Yuko and Mina, the former claiming a second-half brace and the latter scoring her side’s fourth with a superb drive from the edge of the penalty area.
3 - The number of Asian teams (Japan, Korea DPR and Korea Republic) and European teams (Republic of Ireland, Spain and Germany) that have reached the last eight, a full house for both continents. In contrast all three CONCACAF representatives (Canada, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago) are out.
What they said
“My players are sad this evening but in football you’re always learning things. More than anything else you learn to be humble. If they can learn from their mistakes, they can progress and get stronger,” Brian Rosenfeld, Canada coach.