Germany
© LOC

The past
A bitter 4-1 semi-final defeat to the USA put paid to German hopes of the Canada 2002 trophy, although a 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory over Brazil was enough for the consolation prize of third place. The next generation took revenge two years later in Thailand, defeating the Americans 3-1 in the last four before going on to claim the global crown with a 2-0 success against China PR in the Final. Two years later in Russia, with the switch in format from U-19 to U-20, the Germans were unable to emulate the 2004 triumph, falling to a sobering 4-1 defeat against old foe the USA and exiting the tournament at the quarter-final stage.

The present
Coach Maren Meinert's team is a proven and tested unit, featuring skilled individuals within a powerful collective framework. The German juniors will surely constitute a force to be reckoned with in Chile, based on their imposing form at the UEFA U-19 Women's European championship, where they comfortably defended the continental crown with five wins in five matches. Meinert's troops further enhanced their already formidable reputation by winning a four-nation tournament held in La Manga (Spain) in February this year. En route to the title, Germany recorded a 1-0 win against Norway, a 2-1 success against England and a 1-1 draw with the USA, a feat made all the more remarkable by the fact their rivals fielded U-23 teams.

The future
"Obviously we want a shot at the trophy in Chile, but our primary goal is to go further than we did at the last World Cup," Meinert exclusively told FIFA.com, making no secret of her ambitions for the team. Observers believe a number of Germany's talented U-20 squad could make the breakthrough to international grade in South America, as previously achieved by Fatmire Bajramaj and Celia Okoyino da Mbabi, both of whom are still eligible to feature in Chile.

Facts
Former stars
Anja Mittag (2002/2004), Linda Bresonik (2002), Annike Krahn (2004), Celia Okoyino da Mbabi (2004), Fatmire Bajramaj (2006), Simone Laudehr (2006)

Key players
Nathalie Bock (midfield), Nadine Kessler (midfield), Sylvie Banecki (forward), Stephanie Goddard (forward)

Qualifying statistics
Germany's irresistible run to the trophy at the UEFA U-19 Women's European championship featured 13 goals in five matches. A place in the semi-finals also earned them a start in Chile.

The numbers game
3 - The current Germany U-20 squad came together fully three years ago, and can safely be described as a proven unit.