Women's Football

From starlets to stars

Marozsan and Popp during the 2010 U20 Women's World Cup
© Getty Images
  • Today is the tenth anniversary of the fifth FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup final
  • Marozsan and Popp helped hosts Germany triumph
  • Bachmann, Jakobsson, Kumagai, Leroux & Ji also starred at the tournament

From electric atmospheres and record crowds to surprise results and top-notch play, the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010™ was a great success on many levels.

At the conclusion of three weeks of fantastic entertainment, the hosts clinched a memorable victory. But the tournament also served as a springboard for several footballers who would go on to make a significant impression on the women’s game. To celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the final of a competition that is still remembered fondly to this day, FIFA.com presents ten of those players.

1) Ji So-Yun (Korea Republic)

Scorer of eight goals and recipient of the adidas Silver Ball, the South Korean demonstrated at Germany 2010 that a fine career awaited her, as she and her team-mates secured a creditable third-place finish. It would not be the incisive midfielder’s last taste of a major international tournament – far from it. Named South Korean Footballer of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014, the Taeguk Warrior later joined Chelsea, where she continues to shine. She has now scored 45 goals in 98 matches for Korea Republic’s senior national side.

So Yun Ji of South Korea poses with the silver ball award after the 2010 FIFA Women's World Cup Final
© Getty Images

2) Lady Andrade (Colombia)

It is doubtful that Colombia would have managed to reach the semi-finals of the competition – their best result at a FIFA-run event – without the vital contribution of Lady Andrade. The attack-minded South American was Las Cafeteras’ biggest goal threat in Germany, a status she continues to maintain in her country’s senior team, with whom she has participated in two FIFA Women’s World Cup™ tournaments. After a long spell with AC Milan, she moved to Deportivo La Coruna in Spain.

Yocxelin Rodriguez (L) of Costa Rica and Lady Andrade (R) of Colombia compete for the ball
© Getty Images

3) Sydney Leroux (United States)

Awarded the adidas Golden Ball and adidas Golden Shoe at the competition two years earlier in Chile, Sydney Leroux had less time to showcase her skills in Germany, due to her team’s premature elimination. She did, however, succeed in scoring five goals, a performance that earned her the adidas Bronze Ball, prior to embarking on a successful career (75 caps, 35 goals), with the senior USWNT, the highlights of which were undoubtedly the winners’ medals she acquired at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament London 2012 and Canada 2015.

Sydney Leroux #19 of USA and Elizabeth Cudjoe #6 of Ghana compete for for the ball during the 2010 FIFA Women's World Cup Group D match between USA and Ghana
© Getty Images

4) Desire Oparanozie (Nigeria)

The first African team to reach the final of a FIFA-run women’s tournament, Nigeria raised eyebrows at the 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup, where their livewire striker Desire Oparanozie rose to fame. In the wake of her impressive displays in Germany, she made the step up to the Super Falcons and subsequently took part in two Women’s World Cups, captaining the side at France 2019. To date, Oparanozie has scored a total of 22 goals in 35 international appearances.

Oparanozie during the 2010 U20 Women's World Cup
© Getty Images

5) Alexandra Popp (Germany)

Winner of the adidas Golden Ball and adidas Golden Shoe awards at Germany 2010, Alexandra Popp propelled the hosts to victory courtesy of no fewer than ten goals. This would prove to be just a preview of what was to follow: the Wolfsburg attacker has proceeded to rack up caps, goals, major tournament appearances and honours, and ten years later, she is the captain of Germany, has scored 53 times in 107 international matches, and shows no sign of losing her touch in the penalty box.

Alexandra Popp of Germany celebrates after the 2010 FIFA Women's World Cup Final match between Germany and Nigeria
© Getty Images

6) Sofia Jakobsson (Sweden)

Before gaining the legendary status she enjoys today in Sweden, with 113 caps, 21 goals and three Women’s World Cup adventures (one of which – at Paris 2019 – culminated in a bronze medal) on her footballing CV, Sofia Jakobsson was a highly promising attacking midfielder in her country’s U-20 side. And it was in that position that she began to make a name for herself at Germany 2010, despite Sweden’s elimination at the quarter-final stage.

Jakobsson during the 2010 U20 Women's World Cup
© Getty Images

7) Saki Kumagai (Japan)

Although Japan have a habit of excelling at youth World Cups, they failed to get out of the group stage at Germany 2010. The global football community was not yet aware of the full measure of the talents – such as Saki Kumagai – ready to blossom within the young Nadeshiko squad. The following year, she would lift the Women’s World Cup with the Japanese senior team, and would go on to collect further trophies with her country and her club, Lyon. Ten years and 112 caps later, Kumagai now captains her national team with pride.

Saki Kumagai (back) of Japan and Danielle Carter (front) of England compete for the ball during the 2010 FIFA Women's World Cup Group C match between Japan and England
© Getty Images

8) Ramona Bachmann (Switzerland)

Earmarked as the great hope of Swiss women’s football in the run-up to Germany 2010, Ramona Bachmann was unable to prevent La Nati from suffering a group-stage exit at the tournament, despite putting in some excellent individual performances. She made up for that disappointment five years later, helping her country reach the Round of 16 at Canada 2015. The Paris Saint-Germain forward has more than lived up to her potential, and with 76 appearances and 42 goals at international level under her belt, remains one of the first names on the Switzerland team-sheet.

Bachmann during the 2010 U20 Women's World Cup
© Getty Images

9) Yorely Rincon (Colombia)

Colombia’s Yorely Rincon has trodden a very similar career path to her team-mate, Lady Andrade. After having surprised many observers by leading Las Cafeteras to the semi-finals at Germany 2010 , the gifted midfielder developed into one of the senior team’s key players, a role that swiftly earned her the right to don the captain’s armband. She was instrumental in the Colombians qualifying for two successive Women’s World Cups (in 2011 and 2015) and is revered in her homeland. She is on the books of Inter Milan.

Yorely Rincon (10) of Colombia celebrates
© Getty Images

10) Dzsenifer Marozsan (Germany)

Even for football fans with only a passing knowledge of women’s football, Dzsenifer Marozsan will be a familiar name. The German midfielder, who has won all there is to win with club and country, has been a star of the women’s game for several years now. And it was at the 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup, where she held aloft the trophy on home soil, that Marozsan first flaunted her already immense talent.

Marozsan during the 2010 U20 Women's World Cup
© Getty Images

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