Spain win group with draw as former champs USA exit

13 Aug 2018

Spain and USA played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in Dinan-Lehon on Monday, with the result taking La Rojita to the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 as Group C winners.

On an overcast day at the Stade du Clos Gastel, it was the European U-19 champions that struck early thanks to Patricia Guijarro’s fourth goal of France 2018. The Spanish captain drove a low shot past USA goalkeeper Laurel Ivory after the North Americans failed to clear Lucia Garcia’s driven cross from the right.

USA tried to respond, but Spain goalkeeper Catalina Coll pulled off an excellent save at full stretch to deny Viviana Villacorta’s left-footed drive on 20 minutes.

Spain continued to press forward, and they extended their lead on 42 minutes through a fortuitous goal from Garcia. Again, the Stars and Stripes struggled to clear their lines from a Spain free-kick into their box, with the ball falling at the feet of Garcia. Her quick shot slipped under the diving Ivory to give Pedro Lopez’s side a 2-0 lead at the break.

The Stars and Stripes came out after half-time in search of goals and eventually found the back of the net in the late stages to make the finish an exciting one. Sophia Smith first struck home a free-kick on 83 minutes before Savannah Demelo equalised four minutes later.

Despite the comeback, the draw ensured Spain advanced to last eight as group winners, while three-time champions USA were eliminated from the competition for the first time in the group stage. Japan join the Spanish in the quarter-finals as Group C runners-up.

“Dare To Shine” Player of the Match: Aitana Bonmati (ESP)