No sooner had the dust settled on Korea Republic’s dramatic defeat of Japan in the final of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010 than it was time to hand out the awards to the tournament’s top goalscorers and star players.
adidas Golden Ball: Yeo Min Ji (KOR)
adidas Silver Ball: Kumi Yokoyama (JPN)
adidas Bronze Ball: Kim Kum-Jong (PRK)
Yeo Min Ji was fundamental to Korea Republic’s maiden triumph in FIFA competitions, and not just for the eight goals she scored. A skilful and lethal finisher, the prolific No10 was an inspirational presence in even the toughest of situations, scoring four goals and laying on another in a memorable quarter-final against Nigeria. Her tournament tally also included a brace against South Africa, a solitary strike against Mexico and a headed equaliser in the 2-1 semi-final win over Spain, and this double award is no less than she deserves for her mammoth contribution to the South Korean cause.
Japan coach Hiroshi Yoshida described forward Kumi Yokoyama as his best player, a billing she more than lived up to with her exquisite play, dazzling dribbling skills and cool finishing. The scorer of six goals in all, she struck her side’s winners in the quarter-final against Republic of Ireland and the semi-final against Korea DPR, the latter a superlative solo effort that will live long in the memory.
Korea DPR striker Kim Kum-Jong made her mark on Trinidad and Tobago 2010 by thrashing home the goal that knocked out red-hot favourites Germany. Strong and skilful on the ball, the Pyongyang City player also has pace to burn and led the North Korean front line with aplomb.
Though Germany’s Kyra Malinowski only got on the scoresheet in two games, it was enough for her to pocket the adidas Golden Boot. The rangy forward proved too hot to handle for the Mexico defence in Germany’s opening game, helping herself to three goals before going one better and scoring four against South Africa, her innate sense of positioning getting her into the right place at the right time.
Adidas Golden Glove: Dolores Gallardo
Spain’s successful showing in their first FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup appearance owed a lot to the sterling glovework of Gallardo. The Sevilla keeper was in excellent form from start to finish, keeping the powerful Japanese at bay in Spain’s opening group game with some superb stops and maintaining her concentration right to the end. Her saves in the closing stages of the match for third place against Korea DPR ensured Las Rojitas would leave Trinidad and Tobago clutching a well-deserved bronze medal. A formidable opponent in one-on-one situations and blessed with sharp reflexes, a commanding voice and the confidence to come out for crosses, Gallardo looks to have a very bright future ahead of her.
FIFA Fair Play Award: Germany
Despite going out in the quarter-finals, Germany have earned deserved recognition for their excellent behaviour throughout the competition. The dominant side in their group, racking up a 9-0 win over Mexico and a 10-1 defeat of South Africa, the Germans proved sporting opponents at all times and kept their composure even when going down unexpectedly to Korea DPR.
As part of their initiative to promote fair and clean football, FIFA judged this award based on an evaluation by the members of the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG), who carried out a continuous assessment of the behaviour of the various teams on and off the pitch. The overall aim was to promote and strengthen the spirit of fair play among players, coaches, backroom staff and also fans at FIFA tournaments.