Steely Koreans book final place
© Foto-net

Holders Korea DPR needed late heroics from Ri Ye Gyong to see off a brave last-four fight from the French in Temuco, and book passage to their second consecutive FIFA U-20 women's final.

The Europeans started the contest in fine form, moving the ball around the pitch with seeming ease and dominating possession to the tune of 66 per cent in the first half. Melissa Plaza and Nora Coton-Pelagie both had decent chances to score inside the opening five minutes, but couldn't quite find the final touch. At the other end, Choe Un Ju saw the Koreans' first real chance - in the tenth minute - saved by French goalkeeper Meline Gerard.

France focused on their direct approach as the opening period wore on, but they were unable to feed Marie-Laure Delie despite a few decent-looking crosses. Cha Hu Nam began to look dangerous on the flank for the Asians after the half-hour mark, but neither side was able to conjure up an all-important opener before the whistle went for the interval.

The French finally found a way through after the teams emerged from the changing rooms. After a double chance at the other end in which Cha Hu Nam and Ra Un Sim both missed, Pelagie took advantage of an almighty scramble in the Korean goalmouth. Her first shot slammed off the bar and was followed up by a header from Delie, which was saved by keeper Yun Song Mi. But the quick-thinking Pelagie was able to finish off the untidy move and poke the ball home to put France up.

In the 64th minute the Koreans had a goal disallowed for offside, but they were celebrating a legitimate strike just four minutes later. Ri Un Hyang headed home from a Kim Chun Hui cross to level the score and put the holders into the ascendancy. The goal was the hundredth of these Chilean finals.

In the last ten minutes the unlucky French hit the crossbar twice. First Delie slammed against the woodwork and Laura Agard followed suit. The misses proved costly. Three minutes into second-half stoppage time, Ri Ye Gyong got on the end of a long hopeful ball from Pak Kuk Hui and made the score 2-1 for the Koreans, who will meet the USA in the final on Sunday.

The French will take on Germany in the third-place match.