Argentina

The past
With two appearances in the five previous editions, Argentina are second only to Brazil in terms of representing South America at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. That said, La Albiceleste failed to go beyond the group phase at either Russia 2006 or Chile 2008, recording a solitary win across the two competitions.

The present
After failing to qualify for Germany 2010, Argentina return for their third appearance on the world stage after taking the runners-up spot in the South America qualifying tournament earlier this year – their best finish at the event to date. That feat is all the more impressive when you consider they needed a stoppage-time penalty against Chile (3-2) to even reach the final group phase. Once there, however, they drew 2-2 with Paraguay and exacted revenge on Colombia (3-1), who had beaten them in their opening game. And though they would miss out on the title by finishing with a 2-0 defeat to eventual champions Brazil, they had done enough to secure second and book their places in Japan.

The future
“It’s a very positive outcome because we achieved our objective, which was to qualify for the World Cup,” said defender Noelia Espindola. “That’s down to the effort we put in. Now we have to prepare well for what lies ahead. And while that’ll surely not be easy, we’ll always be able to count on our [positive] attitude and a willingness to sacrifice everything for these colours,” she added.

Facts and figures
Key players
Laurina Oliveros, Noelia Espindola, Mariana Larroquette, Yael Oviedo, Betina Soriano.

Qualification in numbers
Argentina won four, drew one and lost two of their qualifying games in Brazil, scoring 15 goals and conceding 11 in the process. Their top scorer was Soriano with five, followed by Florencia Bonseguindo with three and Espindola two.

The stat
8 - The number of players who contributed to Argentina’s 15-goal haul at the South American qualifiers, the second highest goal tally at the tournament.