FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016™
September 30 - October 21

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016™

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016™

Final Tournament Standing

About

Asians excel as history is made in the Middle East

For Jordan 2016, a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar, the predictable and the historic, proved to be a winning blend.

The first major women's football competition in the Middle East broke new ground in so many respects, and yet the winners' podium was not among them. Asia's stranglehold there - the continent having produced all but one of the tournament's champions - was not so much maintained as tightened, with Japan and eventual winners Korea DPR a discernible cut above the rest.

Even Spain and Venezuela, both of whom made the top four for a second successive edition, could not compete, losing their respective semi-finals by identical three-goal margins. USA, Germany and Canada - all traditional giants of the senior women's game - also failed to make headway, with the North American duo failing to survive the group stage. African champions Nigeria fared worse still, heading for home without a single goal to show for their efforts. And the curse of the hosts continued, with Jordan the fifth in as many editions to fall at the first hurdle - and the third in succession to lose all three of their matches.

Stars and moments of magic Overall, this was the lowest-scoring FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup so far and yet, as its enthralling but goalless final proved, the quality has never been higher. No-one did more to raise the bar than the Japanese and North Koreans, and while the latter claimed gold thanks to a nerveless and near flawless penalty shootout showing, either would have been worthy champions.

The Korea DPR coach graciously acknowledged as much after seeing the Young Chollima, champions in 2008, become the first team to win this trophy on multiple occasions. "Japan's technical level is higher than ours, I admit that, and they missed some golden opportunities," said Sin Jong-Bok, who credited his side's win to "mental strength".

These were not empty words. When Sin and his players formed an impromptu guard of honour to applaud the Japanese - a gesture typical of the sportsmanship on show in Jordan - they did so to recognise a team who, in many respects, continue to set the standard at this level.

The Little Nadeshiko's slick, stylish performances did not go entirely unrewarded, though, as playmaker and captain Fuka Nagano - the youngest member of their title-winning 2014 team - was named Jordan 2016's outstanding player. The adidas Golden Ball winner was just one of several individual success stories, with the likes of Ri Hae-Yon, Riko Ueki, Laia Aleixandri, Giulia Gwinn, Sung Hyang-Sim, Jacqueline Ovalle and Sandra Owusu-Ansah also emerging as players well worth watching.

And then there was Deyna Castellanos. Although the Venezuela No9, beset in the latter stages by niggling injuries and the tightest of marking, missed out on the top awards, she undoubtedly produced some of the tournament's most memorable moments. Who can forget, for example, her audacious last-gasp halfway-line winner against Cameroon, or the sublime turn and unstoppable finish that brought La Vinotinto victory against Canada? After a Golden Boot-winning campaign at the age of 15 in Costa Rica two years ago, Castellanos certainly cemented her reputation as a superstar-in-the-making.

A lasting legacy While developing this next generation of outstanding female footballers might be seen as this tournament's central purpose, Jordan 2016 had even grander ambitions. The host country's monarch, Her Majesty Queen Rania, expressed these before a ball was even kicked, stating her belief that football could help "change attitudes and perceptions as to how society perceives girls and young women". Samar Nassar, CEO of a 75 per cent-female Local Organising Committee, went further still, saying that the competition's players were "not just kicking the ball for themselves or their countries, but for all girls out there - for women’s empowerment and for promoting gender equality.”

The desire to further such causes and leave a long-term legacy in the region undoubtedly underpinned FIFA's desire to bring the U-17 Women's World Cup to Jordan, and that remained evident throughout the competition. A string of courses, seminars and other events were held to promote and encourage female footballers, coaches and referees, and support was also given to children in Jordan's refugee camps. No fewer than 250 of those youngsters attended the hosts' opening match, and one of them, Laila, emerged from the experience saying that she too wanted to become a footballer and one day captain her country.

Whether she will succeed, only time will tell. But the mere fact that such dreams have even been stirred in a refugee girl from the Middle East suggests that Jordan 2016 succeeded not only to excite, but to inspire.

MATCHES

Tournament News

The classy captain and midfield fulcrum of Japan’s slick and, until the final, seemingly unstoppable side was a worthy winner of the adidas Golden Ball at Jordan 2016. It was Fuka Nagano, with her vision, precise passing and intelligent movement, who set the tempo for the Young Nadeshiko, allowing her coach to rotate the forwards in front of her with no discernible impact.
A bundle of energy with pace to burn and excellent technical skills, Sung Hyang Sim proved a menace for every defence she faced at this year’s U-17 Women’s World Cup. The bustling little forward was vital to the all-action style that brought Korea DPR glory, and her ability to score, create and generally cause havoc earned a well-deserved Silver Ball award.
A true sensation, Deyna Castellanos lit up Jordan 2016 with some incredible goals and delightful footwork. From her injury-time winner against Cameroon from the halfway line – later voted Goal of the Tournament - to an equally sublime turn and volley against Canada, the Venezuelan, who had also starred in the previous U-17 finals, cemented her status as one of the women’s game’s most exciting talents.
With five goals and an assist, adidas Silver Boot winner Ri Hae Yon was Korea DPR’s top scorer en route to the U-17 title in Jordan. But the Young Chollima No10’s game was about far more than just goals, with vision, passing ability and flawless control marking her out as one of the tournament’s top talents.
AMMAN, JORDAN - OCTOBER 21:  Deyna Castellanos of Venezuela , Lorena Navarro of Spain and Ri Hae Yon of Korea DPR pose with the Adidas Boot Trophies after the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Finale match between Korea DPR and Japan at Amman International Stadium on October 21, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Boris Streubel - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - OCTOBER 12:  Noelia Ramos of Spain celebrates their victory during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 Quarter Final match between Germany and Spain at Amman International Stadium on October 12, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Christopher Lee - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
At an age level where first-rate goalkeepers are at a premium, Noelia Ramos proved herself to be one of her position’s rising stars. Powerful, commanding and with fine reflexes, the Spain keeper performed admirably en route to her team’s third-place finish at Jordan 2016 and was a worthy recipient of the adidas Golden Glove.
Lorena Navarro of Spain celebrates with the adidas Golden Boot trophy during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 Final match between Korea DPR and Japan at Amman International Stadium on October 21, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Christopher Lee - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - OCTOBER 21:  Players of Korea DPR challenge Fuka Nagano of Japan during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Finale match between Korea DPR and Japan at Amman International Stadium on October 21, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Boris Streubel - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - OCTOBER 21:  Sung Hyang Sim of Korea DPR tries to score against goalkeeper Momoko Tanaka of Japan during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Finale match between Korea DPR and Japan at Amman International Stadium on October 21, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Boris Streubel - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - OCTOBER 21:  Sung Hyang Sim of Korea DPR tries to score against goalkeeper Momoko Tanaka of Japan during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Finale match between Korea DPR and Japan at Amman International Stadium on October 21, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Boris Streubel - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - OCTOBER 21:  Sung Hyang Sim of Korea DPR tries to score against goalkeeper Momoko Tanaka of Japan and Seira Kojima of Japan  during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Finale match between Korea DPR and Japan at Amman International Stadium on October 21, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Boris Streubel - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - OCTOBER 21:  Deyna Castellanos of Venezuela is challenged by Laia Aleixandri of Spain  during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Third Place Play Off match between Venezuela and Spain at Amman International Stadium on October 21, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Boris Streubel - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Eva Navarro of Spain celebrates with team mates after scoring
Lorena Navarro of Spain celebrates scoring their second goal during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 Third Place Play-Off match between Venezuela and Spain at Amman International Stadium on October 21, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Christopher Lee - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - OCTOBER 21: Eva Navarro of Spain (5th R) celebrates scoring a goal with her team mates during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 third place play off match between Venezuela and Spain at Amman International Stadium on October 21, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Steve Bardens-FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
1. The happiness of the five-time goalscorer
Though the hosts failed to pick up a point in their three matches at FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016, they did make a little piece of history when  Sarah Abu-Sabbah scored the nation’s first ever World Cup goal. It was no ordinary strike either, with the No10 leaving two Mexico defenders trailing in her wake as she cut in from the right and fired a superb shot into the top corner.
Drawn in the same group as women’s football powerhouses Japan and USA, Ghana knew they would have to dig deep if they were to advance to the knockout phase. Though their campaign began in undistinguished fashion with a 5-0 defeat to the Little Nadeshiko, coach Evans Adotey was adamant her side could beat the Americans. Her faith was rewarded as Ghana came from behind to win 2-1, with captain Sandra Owusu Ansah converting a match-winning penalty six minutes from time, prompting scenes of joy for the Africans.
4. Castellanos has the last word

Tournament News

AMMAN, JORDAN - SEPTEMBER 29: General view of the giant Jordanian Flag flying over Amman City prior to the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan on September 29, 2016 in Amman, Jordan. (Photo by Steve Bardens-FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 Final Stages: Part 2

13 Jan 2017

AMMAN, JORDAN - OCTOBER 21: General view of the Amman International Stadium prior to the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 third place play off match between Venezuela and Spain at Amman International Stadium on October 21, 2016 in Amman, Jordan. (Photo by Steve Bardens-FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 Final Stages: Part 1

13 Jan 2017

AMMAN, JORDAN - OCTOBER 03:  Alexandra Takounda of Cameroon comes in as a substitute during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Group B match between Venezuela and Cameroon at Amman International Stadium on October 3, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Boris Streubel - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016

U-17 Women's World Cup Top 10 Goals: Alexandra Takounda (CAM)

24 Oct 2016

AZ ZARQA', JORDAN - OCTOBER 01:  Saori Takarada of Japan scores their fourth goal during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 Group D match between Ghana and Japan at Prince Mohammed International Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Az Zarqa', Jordan.  (Photo by Christopher Lee - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016

U-17 Women's World Cup Top 10 Goals: Saori Takarada (JPN)

24 Oct 2016

AMMAN, JORDAN - OCTOBER 03:  Deyna Castellanos of Venezuela celebrates after scoring her team's first goal with a free-kick during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Group B match between Venezuela and Cameroon at Amman International Stadium on October 3, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Boris Streubel - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016

U-17 Women's World Cup Top 10 Goals: Deyna Castellanos (VEN)

24 Oct 2016