The big kick-off is approaching, the teams are starting to arrive, and particularly in Japan, home of the reigning women’s world champions, a sense of excited anticipation is building ahead of the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. FIFA.com has delved into the archives and uncovered a wealth of fascinating facts and figures from previous editions of this competition.
The five previous FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups have yielded 511 goals. The first goal was scored by USA’s Lindsay Tarpley in 2002 after 37 minutes of the North Americans’ 5-1 win over England. Overall, the leading scorers at the tournament are Germany on 80 goals, ahead of USA (71) and Brazil (48).
At the 2010 edition of the tournament in Germany, the 32 matches in Augsburg, Bielefeld, Bochum and Dresden attracted a total attendance of nearly 400,000 spectators (395,295), giving an average crowd of 12,353 and setting a tournament record.
In total, 30 different nations have contested the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup finals. However, only Brazil, USA, Germany and Nigeria have featured at all six editions, including Japan 2012.
USA have won 22 of their 28 matches at FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups with four draws and two defeats, and have claimed the trophy twice. Reigning champions Germany have also contested 28 fixtures at the finals, winning 19, drawing three and losing six.
No fewer than 18 players celebrate their birthdays at the tournament. The ‘leaders’ in this category are New Zealand, as the Junior Football Ferns include no fewer than five birthday girls in their squad: Katie Rood, Lucy Carter, Caitlin Smallfield, Rebecca Burrows and Tessa Berger.
Sydney Leroux, now a member of the USA women’s national team, was a mere 14 years and six months old when she appeared for Canada at the 2004 edition of the tournament. She remains the youngest player to feature at a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. However, the youngest goalscorer is Mexico’s Charlyn Corral, who scored in 2006 aged just 14 years and 11 months.
The Germany U-20 women have won their last seven games at the finals, and could equal the record currently held by USA when play gets underway in Japan. However, it is a tall order, as the US girls won ten matches on the trot at the 2002 and 2004 tournaments. By contrast, Switzerland are hoping to end an unwanted run of six consecutive defeats at the finals.
At least one Asian team has made the semi-finals at the last four FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups: Korea Republic in 2010, Korea DPR in 2006 and 2008, and China PR in 2004 and 2006. The only time the last four has not featured an Asian team was the inaugural event in 2002, when Japan lost to Germany after extra time in the quarter-finals. Indeed, this year’s hosts have yet to progress to the semis.
Four of the five winners of the adidas Golden Ball for the best player have also taken home the adidas Golden Boot as top scorer. Alexandra Popp (Germany, 2010), Sydney Leroux (USA, 2008), Ma Xiaoxu (China PR, 2006) and Christine Sinclair (Canada, 2002) all achieved the personal double. The only exception was in 2004: Marta of Brazil, who would go on to be crowned FIFA World Player of the Year five times, took away only one trophy, the adidas Golden Ball. The adidas Golden Boot went to Brittany Timko of Canada.
USA have only failed to make the last four on one occasion, when they were eliminated by Nigeria at the quarter-final stage of the 2010 tournament in Germany.
There are no nations making maiden FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup appearances in Japan. The last edition featured four newcomers: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ghana and Sweden.