Venezuela were perhaps the revelations of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014, and no players did more to make that happen than their two star strikers, Gabriela Garcia and Deyna Castellanos. With six goals and three assists each, the deadly duo ended up sharing the adidas Golden Boot as the tournament’s most prolific scorers.
“Gabi and I are very happy to be the joint top scorers at this World Cup,” Castellanos told FIFA.com after collecting the award with Garcia. “It’s a wonderful prize and we are very proud to be taking it back to our country.”
With her team-mate then choosing to slip away, the No9 was left to talk on her behalf: “Gabi has shown what a great player she is. She’s lots of fun and a real joker off the pitch but she doesn’t like talking in public or doing interviews.”
In Garcia’s absence, the 14-year-old Castellanos was able to provide us with a little more information about her: “Her favourite goal was the one she scored against Canada. I like all of mine but if had to pick a couple out, I’d go for the ones I got against Japan and Italy.”
As well as banging in the goals, the Vinotinto strike twins also found time to set them up for each other.
“That’s our job,” explained Castellanos. “We know we have to give the ball to each other because this is a team game. We came here to win the World Cup, and we weren’t looking for any individual awards. The thing that matters most to us is the fourth place that we achieved as a team. Even so, it’s lovely to be able to share this award with Gabi.”
Kenneth Zseremeta’s girls came up just short in their bid to finish on the podium at Costa Rica 2014, losing on penalties to Italy after their match for third place ended in a wildly fluctuating 4-4 draw.
“It was sad to lose, but at least we have the satisfaction of having taken Venezuela to fourth in the world,” said Castellanos. “We fought 'til the end but things didn’t go our way in the shoot-out, sadly for us.”
Castellanos looks to the future
Reaching the last four was a landmark achievement for the Venezuelans, who will leave Costa Rica with their heads held high, as their joint leading goalscorer confirmed: “We are so happy about it. It’s hard to put into words. We’re going to celebrate this great triumph with the family and we’re expecting a great welcome back home.”
So what does the future hold for her on an individual level? “I’m very happy because everything worked out well for me. I hope I can now get some offers from abroad, with the chance to study, so that I can keep on growing.”
Though her 15th birthday is still a few days away, Deyna is already an idol back home. Asked if she has a message for all the young girls who, like her, love the sport of football, she said: “They should do what they enjoy doing. They should follow their dreams and fight for them. That’s what I’ve done at the age of 14, but I’m going to keep on working because I want more. Why shouldn’t we qualify for the next World Cup?”