Korea DPR wrote their name into football history today by becoming the first-ever winners of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, coming from behind to beat USA 2-1.
The climax to this tournament's excellent inaugural edition drew a remarkable attendance of 16,162, breaking the record for a women's sporting event and eclipsing the previous benchmark set in the competition's opening match. With nerves understandably a factor, this bumper crowd weren't treated a classic final, but there was certainly no shortage of drama as the North Koreans claimed victory deep into extra time.
It had all promised to turn out so differently when the Americans raced into the lead after just two minutes in somewhat farcical fashion. Cloee Colohan launched a long throw into the heart of the Korea DPR area and on a windy afternoon at North Harbour Stadium, the normally reliable Hong Myong Hui misjudged the bounce and ultimately succeeded only in helping the ball on its way into the net. The irony, of course, was that the goal would not have stood had Hong merely allowed it to drop in the net.
Lesser sides would have been floored by such a sickening early blow, but not the North Koreans. With time seemingly running out and the USA 14 minutes from glory, substitute Ri Un Ae crashed a 30-yard free-kick against the underside of the crossbar and Kim Un Hyang headed home the equaliser in the ensuing scramble.
That took the game to extra time and provided the platform for Korea DPR to take the trophy in the most dramatic fashion, Jang Hyon Sun stepping inside Colohan before rifling a low right-foot shot beyond Vancil from the edge of the box to win the cup.