Venezuela

The past
Football is gaining ground in Venezuela, and not just the men’s game. Since Panamanian coach Kenneth Zseremeta took charge of the country’s women’s teams in 2008 they have given Vinotinto fans plenty to cheer about. The Venezuelans made their FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup debut at Trinidad and Tobago 2010, where they went out in the group phase, but not before beating New Zealand 2-1 in their opener and coming in a brave third behind Spain, who went on to finish third, and eventual runners-up Japan.

The present
La Vinotinto won the 2012 U-17 continental title in Paraguay in some style, impressing observers with their dynamic football and deadly finishing. They ended the tournament as the highest scorers and the only team with an unbeaten record. The young Venezuelans also showed their mental strength in the decisive game of the competition against the hosts, making light of the atmosphere generated by a capacity crowd to romp to a 7-1 victory.

The future
“We made a sacrifice and our hard work paid off. We are South American champions, which is a first for this country, and our main objective for the World Cup is to reach the second round. After that we’ll just have to see what happens.” Team captain Lourdes Moreno.