The Day Replayed - European nations tend to fare well in women's football, but this Saturday at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Germany there was little for the Old Continent to smile about. On the other hand there was plenty of good news for Asian, African and North American fans. FIFA.com rounds up a fourth day full of surprises.
Few would have believed that Mexico and Nigeria would be leading the Group C table after two matches, fewer still that England and Japan would be sweating over their progression into the next round. The Falconets further boosted their reputation as a team to watch out for at Germany 2010 with a 2-1 victory over the highly fancied East Asians, while the 2009 European U-19 champions were helpless to prevent a sweeping counter-attacking display from Mexico in a 1-0 defeat. Japan and England thus remain on just a point apiece, setting up a nervous final group fixture on Wednesday in Bielefeld.
With all predictions turned on their head in Augsburg, Dresden enjoyed an incredible 11 goals scored in 180 minutes of scintillating action. The in-form Korea Republic showed great character to come back from 2-1 down and win 4-2 against Ghana and become the third nation after Korea DPR and Germany to secure their ticket for the quarter-finals.
Defending champions USA then put their disappointing 1-1 opening draw with the Ghanaians well and truly behind them with a thumping 5-0 victory over Switzerland which ended any hopes the Alpine nation had of reaching the knockout phase. Curiously, after picking up a slight knock, referee Etsuko Fukano from Japan had to be replaced at half time by fourth official Alexandra Ihringova of England.
Follow the links on the right for full reports on all these games.
As keen advocates of the quick, passing game, Korea Republic rarely score goals from distance. However, Kim Narae proved today in Dresden that the Asians are capable of hitting the target from anywhere on the pitch. With Ghana leading 2-1 after 62 minutes, the University of Yeoju star hammered an impressive 30-metre free kick under the crossbar to level the scores and change the complexion of the match.
Moment of the day
Fond farewell in Dresden
Following their comprehensive victory over the Swiss, the US Girls bid farewell to the Dresden Arena by displaying a giant banner that read 'Danke Dresden' ('Thank you Dresden'). The crowd responded with a warm ovation, and it was a moment which further enhanced the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup's reputation as a friendly and hospitable event. Among those carrying the banner was the buzzing Sydney Leroux, who treated the Dresden support to a superb hat-trick.
5 - After netting a hat-trick in her side's 4-0 opening victory over Switzerland, Korea Republic's Ji So-Yun notched another two strikes in today's 4-2 win against Ghana and now proudly heads up the goalscoring charts with five. At the last edition of the tournament in Chile two years ago, USA striker Leroux was awarded the adidas Golden Shoe after scoring five goals in six matches, and the American already has four at Germany 2010.
Have your say
Nigeria remain unbeaten after two matches at the international showdown in Germany. The Falconets put dark horses Japan to the sword in Augsburg, but can the West Africans be considered viable contenders for the coveted trophy?