With the second round of matches from Groups C and D now completed, the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup are gradually taking shape. Germany are already through to the last eight after consecutive wins, while Korea DPR are all but certain of joining them there after also winning their opening two fixtures.
Match of the day
USA-Germany, Miyagi, 27 August 2012, 16:00 (local time)
This exciting encounter sees two powerhouses of the women’s game squaring off. Both sides have impressive pedigree in the tournament, each featuring in all five editions to date with two titles apiece.
While Germany may be through to the knockout phase already, there will still be plenty to play for on Monday. The Stars and Stripes need a draw to be certain of progressing, while the European side will be keen to retain their status of the only team in Japan yet to concede a goal. If Germany do win, they will equal the record for successive wins at the tournament, with ten victories on the trot, a mark set by their very opponents USA.
Elsewhere in Group D, Ghana’s two defeats mean they have no chance of progressing, though they will be keen to restore pride in their final fixture against China PR and perhaps record their first goal of the tournament. Their opponents are faring only slightly better – a crushing 4-0 loss to Germany was followed by a 1-1 draw against USA, leaving the Chinese with a solitary point and just a slim chance of qualifying if they can secure a big win.
In Group C, Korea DPR’s 9-0 demolition of Argentina puts them on six points with a goal difference of +11, a surely unassailable lead unless Canada and Norway on three points apiece can both pull off a miracle. The second-placed Canucks will be looking to get back on track after throwing away the lead in their 2-1 defeat to Norway, although the Candaian defence will have their hands full trying to stem the rampant Koreans in a game they themselves will doubtless want to win.
After being losing 6-0 to Canada, and then humiliated 9-0 by Korea DPR, bottom-placed Argentina have only a mathematical hope of surviving. To stand any chance, the South Americans need a massive win against Norway, who themselves will be looking to the inspirational Hegerberg sisters to help them leapfrog rivals Canada and secure the second qualifying berth.
Player to watch
In this her second FIFA U-20 World Cup, USA forward Maya Hayes has continued to make impressive progress, as evidenced by her hat-trick in the team’s opener against Ghana. If that were not impressive enough, she also got the all-important equaliser in USA’s second fixture, where they found themselves on the back foot and a goal down to China PR.
All eyes will be on the talented 19-year-old when the Stars and Stripes take on Germany as they continue their quest for a third title.
50 – When Kim Su Gyong struck to make it 8-0 against Argentina, she also netted Korea DPR’s 50th goal in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. A ninth goal brought the total to 51, the third-highest goal tally over the history of the tournament, behind Germany (85) and USA (76).
“There’s a good chance we’ll make some changes in the team for the USA game. It’s not because we have already qualified, but because we need rested players for what was an exhausting battle against Ghana,” Germany coach Maren Meinert.