Although the dream of a medal has been extinguished for four teams at the Youth Olympic Football Tournament Nanjing 2014, the quartet will now focus their ambitions on the matches for fifth place in the hope of travelling home with a tale of success to tell.
Papua New Guinea – Namibia, Jiangning Sports Centre Stadium, Monday 25 August, 18:00 local time
Both of these sides suffered heavy defeats in their group matches and have yet to score a goal of their own. Papua New Guinea previously competed at the Girls’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament 2010 in Singapore, ending their campaign goalless and in sixth place. This memory should give the Oceanian team an extra incentive to finally score their first goal and improve their result from four years ago. Namibia, making their first appearance at the finals of a FIFA tournament, will also make history if they find the back of the net.
Honduras – Vanuatu, Jiangning Sports Centre Stadium, Monday 25 August, 20:45 local time
The young Hondurans got their campaign off to a painful start with a 5-0 collapse against Iceland, but looked much improved in their second group match against Peru and at least managed to score their first goal of the competition. To finish their journey in Nanjing with a win, the team will need to channel the kind of performances that led them to victory at the CONCACAF U-15 Championship in 2013. After two group stage defeats in which they conceded 16 goals, opponents Vanuatu’s first priority will be to play from a stronger defensive foundation if they are to equal the fifth-place finish they achieved at their first Boys’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament in 2010.
*3 *– Vanuatu had three goals to celebrate in Singapore four years ago. Petch Ham found the net first in their narrow 2-1 defeat by eventual finalists Haiti, before Andre Kalselik scored a brace in the team’s 2-0 win over Zimbabwe to secure fifth place.
The player to watch
Alex Laureano (HON)
This tournament has been something of a rollercoaster ride for the lively striker so far. Although he made the starting line-up in Honduras’ opening game against Iceland, he was substituted in the second half. Laureano was then forced to watch much of the Peru match from the bench before being brought on in the 66th minute and scoring just 11 minutes later. The Nueva Generacion forward will be hoping to contribute from the start against Vanuatu and give his side something to celebrate.
Did you know?
Papua New Guinea has a long tradition of women’s football. The country’s senior side contested their first friendly against Australia in 1989 before taking part in qualification for the first FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991.