Following the Final Draw for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010, held at Dresden Castle on Thursday, the 16 nations now know the scale of the task ahead in their quest for places in the quarter-finals. FIFA.com was there to record the reaction of the coaches and officials involved.
I’m delighted we don’t have to play an Asian team at the group stage. Costa Rica qualified at Canada’s expense, so we’re aware of their quality. Looking at the group as a whole, you’d have to say France are our most difficult opponents. Our first target is to get through the group stage, but we ultimately want to stay in the tournament until the end. I believe we have a chance of winning it, because we’re the home team and we’ll have the crowds behind us. And meeting Costa Rica in the opening match is a good omen, because it was the same for our men at the 2006 World Cup, Germany coach Maren Meinert.
I think it’s a very good draw. Germany are favourites in Group A. We’re aiming to make the quarter-finals. We’ll spend the remaining time training hard in Colombia. We’ve played Costa Rica twice in the past and won. The only opponents we know nothing about are France. I’m expecting a fine tournament, Colombia coach Ricardo Rozo.
Germany aside, we don’t really know that much about our opponents. The hosts are definitely the most difficult team in our group, even if England are currently European champions. Our goal is a place in the quarter-finals. If we then go on and finish fourth like we did in Chile, that would be wonderful. But we’re specially pleased about our host cities, because it means some of our fans will follow us to Germany, France coach Jean-Michel Degrange.
We’re in an evenly-matched group. I regard North Korea as favourites to win the trophy, but our goal is to make the final. We have 40 days left for training – and we’re training in Granja Comary Teresopolis, which is where the men train too. I’m delighted the tournament’s in Germany. I’m expecting some fantastic crowds, Brazil coach Marcos Gaspar.
I think with the U-20s in 2008 going within seconds of reaching the quarterfinals, and the performances of the Football Ferns at the Cyprus Cup in the last two years, New Zealand are being taken a lot more seriously. Obviously, we’ll still be considered outsiders for the group but that suits us fine. We’re quietly confident of surprising a few teams, New Zealand coach Tony Readings.
It’s a tough group. Apart from Nigeria, who we met at Chile 2008, I don’t really know too much about our opponents. We’ve never played Japan or Mexico at U-20 level. It’ll be a terrific experience. We made the quarter-finals in 2002 in Canada, and 2008 in Chile, but just surviving the group will be a big ask this time. If we make it to the knockout stages, we’ll start setting our sights higher, England coach Mo Marley.
I’m happy with the draw. All the teams in the group are strong, but none particularly stands out. I’ve not yet seen our opponents play so I don’t really know exactly how we’ll prepare for the tournament just yet. We’re aiming to reach the final. We’re always good for a surprise, but so are many of the other teams, Nigeria coach Ndem Adat Egan.
Our group is one of the most difficult at the World Cup. We keep a close eye on all the teams and we’re aware of their strengths, so we’ll obviously have to prepare accordingly. Our target is a place in the quarter-finals. We’re holding a training camp in Mexico this May, and we’re playing the USA twice. A few of our U-20 players will appear for the senior team and take on Japan. I already sense there’s going to be a tremendous atmosphere in Germany, Mexico coach Gerardo Lepe.
Every team in our group is strong, but our target is to win the trophy! I’m hoping for big crowds and lots of support at the finals. We’ll be training in Germany from mid-June, and we have friendlies against Germany and the USA. But I can tell you one thing for certain: during the tournament, we’re going to miss our Japanese food! Japan official Kaori Yamada.
I wouldn’t say we’re coming to the tournament to defend the trophy, I’d say we’re taking part with the aim of winning it again. It’s a big difference, because at the end of the day, we’re talking about a completely new team. Only two of the squad played at the 2008 finals in Chile, although one of them is Sydney Leroux [winner of the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Shoe at Chile 2008]. Looking at Switzerland, I’m specially impressed by Ramona Bachmann. The South Koreans play great football: technically skilled, well-organised and attractive. And Ghana are there for the first time, so they’ll be really enthusiastic, USA coach Jill Ellis.
I don’t have great expectations of the tournament. The USA are obviously favourites to win the group and it’ll be tough against them, but that apart, we’ll take it as it comes. We’re just thrilled to be there. We’re aware that we’ll have to achieve something extraordinary if we’re to contribute towards making women’s football more popular at home. We made it to the semi-finals at the EURO, but not a great many people in Switzerland were aware of that. It’ll be different at the World Cup in Germany. We’ll see real passion and enthusiasm, because lots of fans and family members will make the trip too. We also have a couple of players in the German Bundesliga. Will Ramona Bachmann play for us at the World Cup? She most certainly will! Switzerland coach Yannick Schwery.
I think the group’s okay. We have to play the world champions, but we’ve already prepared for that. Our initial target is to reach the quarter-finals, which ought to be a realistic goal. We believe in our qualities, which are clearly in the areas of technique and skill. Whatever, we’re really looking forward to Germany and its harmonious blend of great atmosphere and glorious footballing history, Korea Republic coach Jin-Cheul Choi.