FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014
5 August - 24 August

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014™

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

Final Tournament Standing

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U-20 women cap Germany's golden summer

Given how the past few months have unfolded, could it really have been anyone else?

Germany's footballers seem to be in the midst of a period in which everything they touch turns to gold, and Canada 2014 proved to be no exception. But while the concluding images of celebrating, white-shirted players were strikingly familiar, the way in which Maren Meinert's women's U-20s seized glory differed substantially to the world and Europe-conquering senior and U-19 men.

"We spent the whole summer cheering on the men in Brazil, and their success definitely motivated us," Meinert said after lifting the trophy. "We didn't necessarily expect to follow them and be standing here as champions, but we're very proud - and the quality of teams we've beaten along the way makes us especially so."

No-one, certainly, could accuse the Germans of having taken the easy route to glory. A draw that grouped them with Brazil, China PR and holders USA saw to that, and topping that section merely led to tougher matches against hosts Canada, France and Nigeria. In each of those knockout games, Meinert's side often appeared to be struggling; even second best. France, the European champions - having beaten Germany in that continental campaign - were certainly dominant in the sides' semi-final, registering 22 attempts on goal to the eventual champions' five.

The final developed along similar lines, with Nigeria - who would themselves have been worthy champions - creating the better and more numerous chances. Later, it was no surprise to see French and Falconets players vying for positions in the adidas Golden Ball pecking order.

It was not, though, that the Germans lacked fine players - they had several - or that theirs was a triumph based on good fortune. But without a single identifiable star, and without ever blowing the opposition away, Meinert's side were still able to win a third FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup - equalling USA's record - thanks to unity, mental strength and will to win that none of the others could match.

Star players, spectacular goals Nigeria and France, who finished second and third respectively, possessed other, equally laudable qualities. The African champions would enter the field singing and dancing, and that same effervescence was evident in their play, with early goals - including the two fastest in U-20 Women's World Cup history - a common feature of their matches. They also had Canada 2014's outstanding player in Asisat Oshoala, winner of both the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Shoe, whose tournament peaked in a remarkable semi-final win over Korea DPR in which she scored four times.

France, for their part, produced some of the tournament's most sumptuous football and also showcased a few outstanding individuals. Flair-filled performances and spectacular goals established Claire Lavogez, for example, as a firm favourite of the Canadian fans, while centre-half Griedge Mbock Bathy - winner of the Golden Ball at the U-17 finals in 2012 - reaffirmed her status as one of the women's game's great prospects.

Yet it was not only on the winners' podium that the success stories were to be found. New Zealand made history by qualifying for the knockout phase for the first time, while Paraguay performed creditably on their U-20 Women's World Cup debut. There were plusses, too, for the Asian sides, with Korea DPR and Korea Republic both qualifying from their sections and China PR producing arguably the match of the tournament: a remarkable 5-5 draw with the team that would go on to lift the trophy.

The overall quality of football also yielded a generous response, both in the stands and online. FIFA.com's news coverage and highlights were avidly followed, while footage of some of the tournament's more spectacular goals - with stunners from Lavogez and England's Beth Mead among those worth reliving - quickly went viral.

Appetites have undoubtedly been whetted for next year's FIFA Women's World Cup™, with Canada - as expected - having proved enthusiastic and hospitable hosts. The home fans also had one of the tournament's great comeback stories to cheer, with Andrew Olivieri's young Canucks having lost their opening match, gone 2-0 down in their second and still managed to make it through to the quarter-finals.

It is on such drama that World Cups are built, and as well as offering the female game's best youngsters a fantastic stage on which to showcase and develop their talent, Canada 2014 has set a lofty standard for the tournaments that will follow.

MATCHES

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The team of Canada and of Korea DPR walk onto the pitch before the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014 group A match between Korea DPR and Canada at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Martin Rose - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

Former champions, hosts kick off quarter-finals


TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 13:  Megan Lee of New Zealand with the ball before scoring a goal against Costa Rica during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 Group D match at the National Soccer Stadium on August 13, 2014 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

Kiwi Lee aiming for the top



EDMONTON, AB - AUGUST 13:  Loveth Ayila of Nigeria reacts after scoring a goal against England with Asisat Oshoala and Courtney Dike during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 Group C match between Nigeria and England at Commonwealth Stadium on August 13, 2014 in Edmonton, Canada.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

England anguish as Nigeria comeback seals passage



EDMONTON, AB - AUGUST 13:  Faustine Robert (second from right) of France celebrates her first goal against Paraguay during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 Group D match between Paraguay and France at Commonwealth Stadium on August 13, 2014 in Edmonton, Canada.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

Three and easy for table-topping France



New Zealand players celebrate during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 Group D match between Costa Rica and New Zealand at the National Soccer Stadium on August 13, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

Kiwis beat Ticas to make history



Jon So Yon (R) of Korea DPR and Emma Fletcher (L) of Canada battle for the ball during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014 group A match between Korea DPR and Canada at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Martin Rose - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

Dream homecoming for Canada's Fletcher

Tournament News

MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 24:  Players of Germany celebrate after winning the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 final match between Nigeria and Germany at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 24:  Pauline Bremer, Rieke Dieckmann and Madeline Gier (L-R) of Germany celebrate after winning the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 final match between Nigeria and Germany at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 24:  Head coach Maren Meinert of Germany celebrates with the team after winning the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 final match between Nigeria and Germany at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 24:  Head coach Maren Meinert (C), Lena Petermann (L) and Lina Magull of Germany pose after winning the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 final match between Nigeria and Germany at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Lena Petermann #18 of Germany celebrates her team's first goal with team mates during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 final match between Nigeria and Germany at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 24: Lena Petermann #18 of Germany celebrates her team's first goal with team mates during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 final match between Nigeria and Germany at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 24:  Lena Petermann of Germany celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014 final match between Nigeria and Germany at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Martin Rose - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 24:  Lena Petermann of Germany celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014 final match between Nigeria and Germany at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Martin Rose - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Team members of France celebrate their 3rd goal during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014 3rd place playoff match between Korea DPR and France at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Martin Rose - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 24: Clarisse Le Bihan of France tries to score against Ri Un Yong and goalkeeper Kim Chol Ok of Korea DPR (L-R) during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 3rd place match between Korea DPR and France at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Claire Lavogez of France celebrates their equalizing goal during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014 3rd place playoff match between Korea DPR and France at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Martin Rose - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 24:  Team members of France celebrate their equalizing goal during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014 3rd place playoff match between Korea DPR and France at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Martin Rose - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - AUGUST 05:  Lena Petermann of the Germany celebrates scoring a goal past goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland of the United States with Pauline Bremer and Theresa Panfil (right) in the second half at Commonwealth Stadium on August 5, 2014 in Edmonton, Canada.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONCTON, NB - AUGUST 06:  Osarenoma Igbinovia (C) of Nigeria celebrates her team's first goal with team mates during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 group C match between Mexico and Nigeria at Moncton Stadium on August 6, 2014 in Moncton, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - AUGUST 08:  Pauline Bremer of Germany celebrates scoring a goal against China PR at Commonwealth Stadium on August 8, 2014 in Edmonton, Canada.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Chinwendu Ihezuo of Nigeria (not pictured) scores her team's second goal against goalkeeper Min Yukyeong of Korea Republic during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 group C match between Korea Republic and Nigeria at Moncton Stadium on August 9, 2014 in Moncton, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria celebrates her team's first goal during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 Quarter Final match between Nigeria and New Zealand at Moncton Stadium on August 17, 2014 in Moncton, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONCTON, NB - AUGUST 18:  Asisat Oshoala poses during a Nigeria training session on August 18, 2014 in Moncton, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONCTON, NB - AUGUST 17:  Asisat Oshoala (C) of Nigeria celebrates her team's second goal with team mates Ugo Njoku (R) and Halimatu Ayinde during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 Quarter Final match between Nigeria and New Zealand at Moncton Stadium on August 17, 2014 in Moncton, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
MONCTON, NB - AUGUST 17: Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria celebrates her team's second goal during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 Quarter Final match between Nigeria and New Zealand at Moncton Stadium on August 17, 2014 in Moncton, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Tournament News

MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 24: Lena Petermann #18 of Germany tries to score during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 final match between Nigeria and Germany at Olympic Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

Canada 2014 FINAL HIGHLIGHTS: NIGERIA v. GERMANY

9 Sep 2016

MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 20: Theresa Panfil (R) of Germany and Eve Perisset (L) of France battle for the ball during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014 semi final match between Germany and France at Olympic Stadium on August 20, 2014 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Martin Rose - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

Germany v. France, Canada 2014 HIGHLIGHTS

8 Sep 2016

MONCTON, NB - AUGUST 20: Uchechi Sunday of Nigeria scores her team's third goal during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 Semi Final match between Korea DPR and Nigeria at Moncton Stadium on August 20, 2014 in Moncton, Canada. (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

Korea DPR v. Nigeria, Canada 2014 HIGHLIGHTS

7 Sep 2016

MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 17: Kadidiatou Diani (R) of France and Choe Yuri (L) of Korea Republic battle for the ball during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2014 quater final match between France and Korea Republic at Olympic Stadium on August 17, 2014 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Martin Rose - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

France v. Korea Republic, Canada 2014 HIGHLIGHTS

2 Sep 2016

MONCTON, NB - AUGUST 17: Emma Rolston (L) of New Zealand jumps for a header with Gladys Abasi of Nigeria during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 Quarter Final match between Nigeria and New Zealand at Moncton Stadium on August 17, 2014 in Moncton, Canada. (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014

Nigeria v. New Zealand, Canada 2014 HIGHLIGHTS

2 Sep 2016