Group A of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010 looked perhaps the hardest of the four sections to call before the tournament got underway. In the end, however, there was to be no photo finish, as Nigeria collected a maximum nine points and reigning champions Korea DPR maintained their defence by finishing second on six.
The North Koreans sealed their place in the quarter-finals at the expense of the tournament hosts, who acquitted themselves well but paid a heavy price for their inexperience. Bringing up the rear were South American Women’s U-17 Championship winners Chile, who were unable to reproduce the form that made them continental champions back in February.
Nigeria (9 pts)
Korea DPR (6 pts)
Trinidad and Tobago (3 pts)
Chile (0 pts)
Section favourites Korea DPR, the winners of the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand two years ago, got off on the wrong foot with a 3-2 defeat to a dynamic Nigeria side. That setback, coupled with T&T’s 2-1 win over the Chileans, put the North Koreans under immediate pressure. The Asian challengers recovered their poise in the next game, overcoming an out-of-sorts Chile 3-0, while the Nigerians made sure of their place in the next round by edging out the Soca Princesses 2-1. That result left Korea DPR needing just a point from their final game against the hosts to join the Flamingoes.
With so much at stake, the showdown in Couva proved to be a tense affair. Try as they might, however, Trinidad and Tobago could find no way back after Kim Su Gyong’s third-minute strike, which clinched second place for the holders behind the all-conquering Nigerians, comprehensive 5-0 winners against a weary Chile.
North Koreans come good
Korea DPR coach Ri Song-Gun had promised his side would get stronger as the group phase went on, and so it proved. Hitting back after that defeat to Nigeria, the holders downed Chile and ended Trinidad and Tobago’s challenge with a narrow win.
Chile see red
Fair play has been much in evidence at Trinidad and Tobago 2010 so far, with only one red card having been issued to date. The unfortunate recipient was Chile’s Nicole Cornejo, whose dismissal proved the turning point of their defeat to Korea DPR.
11 - With 11 goals to their name, Nigeria go into the next round as one of the highest-scoring sides in the competition. Strangely, only three of their players have got on the scoresheet to date, with Francisca Ordega and Loveth Ayila scoring four apiece and Ngozi Oboki three.
What they said
“In comparison to the results of other Caribbean teams in FIFA tournaments up to now, this competition has been a success for us. Even so, we were looking to make the last eight so it hasn’t been a complete success for us,” Even Pellerud, Trinidad and Tobago coach.