THE DAY REPLAYED – France presented yet more evidence of their title ambitions at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 with an emphatic 4-0 victory over New Zealand the second round of Group D fixtures, as Les Bleuettes all but booked their place in the last eight.
Paraguay were celebrating too as the debutants defeated Costa Rica and registered not only their first win at the U-20 Women’s World Cup but also the first at a FIFA tournament by any women’s team from their country. Silvana Romero opened for Paraguay and although Michelle Montero levelled, Jennifer Mora sealed the 2-1 victory from the spot. The Paraguayans are still in with a chance of the quarters and huddled joyfully around their beaming coach at the final whistle.
Over in Group C, Nigeria won for the first time after England and Mexico played out a draw in the earlier game. The turbocharged Falconets were a goal up just 18 seconds into their meeting with Korea Republic and are now handily placed at the top of the section in the race for a last eight berth.
England 1-1 Mexico
Korea Republic 1-2 Nigeria
New Zealand 0-4 France
Paraguay 2-1 Costa Rica
Goal of the day
England 1-0 Mexico, Bethany Mead (36)
A magnificent attacking move deservedly led to England taking a 36th-minute lead. Hannah Blundell arrowed a pass from the left into the path of Bethany Mead. The England No9 left her marker Karla Nieto floundering and steadied herself before directing a 25-yard curler beyond keeper Cecilia Santiago and into the net.
Super sub’s double strike: Clarisse Le Bihan came, saw and conquered. The 19-year-old replaced Claire Lavogez on 64 minutes in what proved an inspired move by France boss Gilles Eyquem, whose team were leading 2-0 at the time and could have been home and dry but for some wayward finishing. Le Bihan rectified the earlier omissions with a brace to put the result beyond any shadow of doubt.
Nigeria in a hurry: The last of the spectators were still taking their places and settling down to watch the game when Nigeria took the lead after just 18 seconds of their meeting with Korea Republic. The honour of scoring the fastest-ever goal at a U-20 Women’s World Cup fell to Courtney Dike, whose strike immediately after kick-off was also quicker than any goal scored at the FIFA Women’s World Cup or U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Gymnastics on the touchline: Mayra Almazan gave the fans in Montreal a moment to savour when the Costa Rica number 16 elected to use the skills of a different discipline to deliver a throw-in. Instead of merely returning the ball to play in the conventional manner, Almazan brought the crowd to its feet by combining the delivery with a so-called salto, an airborne forward roll.
6 –Nigeria’s victory over the Koreans ended a winless streak in Group C, where the three preceding matches had all ended in draws. England are proving the queens of the stalemate as their draw with Mexico was their sixth in 13 games at the U-20 Women’s World Cup.
"The first half was complicated. We weren’t aggressive enough to dominate the game. The fact we’ve won was the big positive, but we missed a lot of good chances and could have scored more. We need to be more aggressive and more efficient in front of goal. But with six points we can plan for the quarter-finals, and we’ll give everyone a chance to play in the next match," France coach Gilles Eyquem.
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 (all times local)
Group A (Moncton and Montreal)
Korea DPR-Canada, 19:00
Group B (Montreal and Moncton)
USA-China PR, 17:00