THE DAY REPLAYED – There were contrasting fortunes for the eight sides in action in the opening round of matches in Groups C and D of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014.
One of the sides to come up short of their objectives was England, who were aiming to put an end to a winless run stretching back six years and six games, but had to be content with a draw against Korea Republic. FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup winners in Azerbaijan two years ago and the reigning European U-19 champions, France lived up to expectations by making short work of Costa Rica in a five-goal display.
Meanwhile, Nigeria learned quickly from their mistakes against Mexico. Having fallen behind midway through the first half as a result of a sloppy clearance, the Super Falconets made the Mexicans pay for some shoddy defensive work a few minutes later to kick off their campaign with a draw.
Finally, tournament new girls Paraguay endured a harsh introduction to the U-20 Women’s World Cup, going down 2-0 to New Zealand, who know their way around the competition having made five appearances already.
England 1-1 Korea Republic
Mexico 1-1 Nigeria
France 5-1 Costa Rica
New Zealand 2-0 Paraguay
Goal of the day
France 4-0 Costa Rica, Claire Lavogez 38
Judging by the finishing skills she displayed against the Costa Ricans, Claire Lavogez is brimming with confidence. The Montpellier midfielder put her side ahead with an expertly taken penalty, driving the ball into the roof of the net. She then followed up with an even better finish for her side’s fourth goal. Latching on to a bouncing ball just inside the box, Lavogez unleashed a sublime dipping volley that came down off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net.
Tico namesakes: There were two Villalobos in the Costa Rica side that faced France. Gloriana, the younger of the two, appeared at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014. Still only 14 years and 352 days old, she became the fifth-youngest player to run out at the U-20 Women’s World Cup. Her namesake Fabiola, who is herself only 16, enjoyed a less than memorable day, putting through her own goal with a sliced clearance to hand the French their third goal.
Points shared: Tournament regulars Korea Republic were playing their 14th U-20 Women’s World Cup match against England, having won seven, lost six and drawn none of their previous games in the finals. The South Koreans looked on course for win number eight until Martha Harris popped up with an equaliser for the English. The Asians were ultimately grateful for the point, however, with Bethany Mead spurning a gilt-edged opportunity to give the European side their first victory since downing Chile in 2008.
Santiago saves the day: Mexico goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago is making her third appearance in the competition. She announced herself to the world as a 15-year-old at Germany 2010, her reflexes and positioning promptly earning her a place in the full national team and a ticket to the FIFA Women’s World Cup the following year. She was in supreme form again at Japan 2012, but was unable to prevent Las Aztecas from going down to a 1-0 quarter-final defeat to Nigeria. The Africans provided the opposition as she began Canada 2014 with yet another impressive performance, one she marked with a brilliant reflex stop from Loveth Ayila and a scrambling triple save in the second half.
5 - New Zealand’s Katie Bowen is already something of a veteran of FIFA competitions. The only player at Canada 2014 to have appeared at the U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2008 and 2010, the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2012 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in 2011, the vastly experienced Bowen was the obvious choice to captain the Young Football Ferns as they kicked off with victory over Paraguay.
“I’m pleased with our performance but disappointed we conceded a goal. We are going to work on our defence and we’ll be even stronger for our next game,” France coach Gilles Eyquem.
Friday 8 August 2014
Group A (Toronto)
Ghana-Korea DPR, 17:00
Group D (Edmonton)
(all local times)