THE DAY REPLAYED – Teams in Groups C and D delivered an entertaining final day of group stage action at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016 and clinch the final few quarter-final places. Group C reached a dramatic climax as the final placings of top teams USA and France were decided by unusual criteria.
Meanwhile Germany were the clear winners of Group D after celebrating their third straight victory by beating Korea Republic, with Mexico making the most of the Asian side’s defeat to overcome Venezuela and finish second in the group.
Results Group C USA 1-1 Ghana New Zealand 0-2 France
Group D Korea Republic 0-2 Germany Venezuela 2-3 Mexico
Goal of the day Dina Orschmann employed a mix of pace, technique and awareness to open the scoring for Germany against Korea Republic with a captivating strike. After winning the ball on the right wing, the midfielder surged to the edge of the area, switched the ball from her right to her left foot and curled it past South Korean goalkeeper Kim Minjung into the far corner with pinpoint accuracy.
Memorable moments Fifteen minutes of fame: A full day after their historic exploits, Papua New Guinea’s first goal at a FIFA tournament continued to dominate headlines in the host nation. State television channel EM TV invited captain Yvonne Gabong and coach Lisa Cole into its studio, where the pair gave an insight into the team’s emotions as part of the live broadcast of New Zealand’s match against France. “I was completely over the moon,” said a beaming Gabong, who provided the assist. “I couldn’t believe we’d scored. We’ve grown into a true team over the past few months and have supported each other throughout."
A caution with consequences: When Estelle Cascarino picked up a yellow card for a foul on Emma Rolston in the 48th minute of France’s game against New Zealand, she could not possibly have imagined the ramifications it would have for her team. When the final whistle sounded at Bava Park, Les Bleuettes were level with USA at the top of Group C on both points and goals scored. As the encounter between the two sides finished in a goalless draw, Fair Play criteria were used to determine the final standings. Cascarino’s booking left the French with an inferior record to USA, who clinched top spot after navigating the group stages without picking up a single yellow.
New Zealand’s late starters: The Oceanian champions encountered setbacks in the opening stages of each of their group games, only recovering from these shaky starts in the final minutes of each clash. After scoring a last-gasp winner against Ghana in their first match, the Kiwis’ late rallies were not enough to avoid defeat by USA and France. “It’s a question of experience, and my players are very young,” said coach Leon Birnie. “This tournament will help them with their development."
The stat 800 –As well as opening the scoring for her team, Mexico striker Kiana Palacios reached an U-20 Women’s World Cup milestone in the match against Venezuela by netting the 800th goal in the competition’s history.
The words "We’d have taken that result this morning. It wasn’t completely perfect; we still have some small things to improve. Our defensive coordination still isn’t ideal and our shooting needs to be a little more accurate, but all in all I’m very proud of my team and what they achieved today." Gilles Eyquem, France coach
Next matchday Thursday 24 November, quarter-finals Korea DPR-Spain, 16.00 (National Football Stadium) Japan-Brazil, 19.30 (National Football Stadium)
Friday 25 November, quarter-finals USA-Mexico, 16.00 (Sir John Guise Stadium) Germany-France, 19.30 (Sir John Guise Stadium) (All times local)