France in the mix with big three
Thursday 4 December should be a day to remember at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile. The cities of Temuco and Coquimbo will host their final games of the competition with what are sure to be two enthralling semi-finals. In the first, reigning champions Korea DPR will try to halt surprise package France, while the second sees two of the pre-tournament favourites, USA and Germany, battle it out for a place in Sunday's final in Santiago. Thursday also marks the seventh FIFA Anti-Discrimination Day, and both teams will offer their wholehearted support to the bid to stamp out racism and discrimination.
The big match*USA-Germany, Coquimbo, 4 December, 19:00 (local time).*
This pairing has become something of a classic in the category, the teams having met in all three previous editions, with the USA holding the advantage with two wins to the Europeans' one. Thursday's showdown will be a veritable clash of titans: between them, they have won 9 of the 13 previous FIFA Women's tournaments.
Germany will be without Kim Kulig for the game, the dependable striker ruled out because of an accumulation of yellow cards. In the opposition camp, Tony DiCicco looks set to start with Sydney Leroux, who, with four goals already in Chile, is the tournament's joint-top scorer alongside Eugenie Le Sommer of France.
The other match*France-Korea DPR, Temuco, 4 December, 16:00 (local time).*
France's feat of joining three of the game's powerhouses in the last four has marked them out as the revelation of the tournament. However, a glance at the record books does not augur well for the Les Bleuettes: no Asian side has ever lost a semi-final in this event and, in the only previous meeting of the sides, at Russia 2006, the Europeans lost 2-1 to the Koreans in the quarter-finals.
Two of the three survivors from that game, Ri Un Hyang and Kim Chun Hui, will be going all out on Thursday to make it back-to-back finals for the Koreans. One other notable absentee will be Korea DPR's Sim Sol Ryon, who misses the match through suspension. The French welcome Marie-Laure Delie back from injury.
The stat 14 -The total number of FIFA Women's tournaments held to date and the number of times the USA have reached the semi-finals or better in said tournaments. The Stars and Stripes have an overall success rate of 64 per cent, having reached the final nine times and gone on to lift the trophy in six of these.
What they said"There is no reason whatsoever to fear the USA. If we play like we did against Brazil, or perhaps with a little more intensity, I'm sure we'll make the final," Katharina Baunach, Germany defender.