Hosts make history, Asian sides make hay
THE DAY REPLAYED –The hosts waved an expected farewell to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016 on Sunday, but only after burying their first ever World Cup goal against Korea DPR. That alleviated some of their heartbreak in a heavy loss as their conquerors set up a quarter-final meeting with Spain, who finished runners-up in Group B despite succumbing to Nigeria.
Top spot in that section ultimately went to Japan, who recorded their own handsome victory against Canada to send their opponents packing at the end of a difficult campaign. The Asian hopefuls will now tackle Brazil in the last eight, with their upcoming rivals forcing Sweden out of the exit door following a tense stalemate.
Brazil 1-1 Sweden
Korea DPR 7-1 Papua New Guinea
*Nigeria 2-1 Spain
Canada 0-5 Japan
Goal of the day Yui Hasegawahelped herself to a double against Canada, and her second effort showcased all her technical expertise, the Japan No8 back-heeling into the net following a series of quick passes in the area on 51 minutes.
Memorable moments *Ageva makes history*: After conceding 16 goals without reply, Papua New Guinea finally got on the scoreboard thanks to Nicollete Ageva, who equalised against Korea DPR following a surging run and a lob which sailed over the goalkeeper before dropping low into the net just inside the post. A special moment for the hosts, it was far less appreciated by the North Korean coach, who immediately sent on a pair of key players he had been hoping to rest.
Ogbonna sees red: For Nigeria, this was a supremely frustrating evening. Peter Dedevbo's charges quickly restored parity after falling behind to Spain and went ahead as the final 15 minutes approached, but they needed a much larger margin of victory to leapfrog their opponents. Instead, they were guilty of spurning numerous chances, and the anguish of elimination was all too much for Glory Ogbonna, whose foul on Nahikari Garcia brought her the tournament's third red card.
Sweden's shooting star: Although Stina Blackstenius will not get to contest the knockout phase, the Sweden forward did everything she could to extend her team's adventure. Top scorer during European qualifying, she racked up another five goals in Papua New Guinea, including the opener against Brazil. The tournament thus loses its most prolific player after the group stage, but world football has surely not heard the last of this star in the making.
The stat 2 –Nigeria are just the second team in the competition's history to be sent home despite posting six points in the group stage. The first were fellow African side Ghana, who recorded a pair of wins in Group A at Canada 2014 only to finish behind Korea DPR and Canada.
The words "To host the World Cup here was a historical moment for PNG. Unfortunately we didn’t win a game but finally we score a goal. This is for our great fans who support us. Our main goal was to learn. We played against the best teams in the world. This will help us in the future. I’m very proud of the team and what we achieve here at the World Cup."
Yvonne Gabong, Papua New Guinea captain
Next matchdayMonday 21 November
*New Zealand-France, 16.00 (Bava Park)
USA-Ghana, 16.00 (Sir John Guise Stadium)
*Korea Republic-Germany, 19.00 (Sir John Guise Stadium)
Venezuela-Mexico, 19.00 (Bava Park)
(All times local)