It is quarter-final time at FIFA U-17 World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010, with Thursday’s two games pitching the holders against the form team of the tournament and Nigeria against the champions of Asia.
Match of the day
Germany-Korea DPR, Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, 19.00
Just who can stop the German juggernaut? The Europeans flattened everything in their path in Group B, chalking up big wins against Mexico, South Africa and Korea Republic and scoring 22 goals in the process. It is no surprise, then, to see Kyra Malinowski, Lena Petermann and Lena Lotzen out front as the tournament’s leading scorers with seven, five and four goals respectively.
The task of halting their progress falls to the reigning champions, who have recovered well since losing to Nigeria 3-2 in their opening match. With Kim Kum-Jong playing a prominent role, the North Koreans kept cleans sheets in disposing of Chile and then Trinidad and Tobago, but have yet to hit the heights that made them inaugural world champions in the category two years ago.
The other match
Like the Germans, Nigeria racked up three wins in the group stage, coming from behind to down the North Koreans, edging out the hosts with a brace of late goals and then slamming five past Chile without reply. The understanding between strikers Francisca Ordega and Loveth Ayila has been vital to the Flamingoes’ progress so far, not to mention the instinctiveness of 'veteran' midfielder Ngozi Okobi.
Last-eight opponents Korea Republic have yet to recapture the form they showed in winning the Asian qualification competition. Denied the services of injured striker Kim Dahye, the Taeguk Ladies will be looking to Yeo Min-Ji to carry the game to the Nigerians and gain revenge for the 2-1 defeat they suffered in the group phase at new Zealand 2008.
3 - The number of teams out of these first four quarter-finalists to reach the last eight at New Zealand 2008, proof that the women’s youth programmes implemented by Korea DPR, their southern neighbours and Germany are continuing to bear fruit. Nigeria, who went out in the group phase two years ago, are not lagging behind either, having recently finished runners-up at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010.
What they said
“Germany are a very powerful side. They have a lot of skill and physical strength to go with it and their players are technically gifted and very strong mentally. You can’t predict a result for a game like this but we’re going to give it our best shot because we want to retain the title,” Ri Song-Gu, Korea DPR coach.