On and off the pitch, the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2018 was a new milestone for women’s football.
The competition was hosted in South America for the first time, with Uruguay providing a unique football flair and passion in the Host Cities of Colonia, Maldonado and Montevideo.
On the pitch, as summarised by the most comprehensive report ever produced by FIFA’s Technical Study Group (TSG) for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, the tournament was a great indication of the work and investment being put into the women’s game by the 16 participating countries.
While players showed confidence on the attack, with many teams pressing high and taking a bold approach, the route to goal was increasingly difficult, as illustrated by the fact that this was the lowest-scoring edition in the history of the tournament, with just 86 goals netted in 32 games (an average of 2.69 per game).
Interestingly, champions Spain were the only team not to score a single goal from a set play, as they relied on their excellent use of wide areas and their clinical finishing: they scored from every 2.3 shots on target, compared to the tournament average of 4.8.
Players like Spain’s Eva Navarro and Salma Paralluelo, as well as Germany’s Shekiera Martinez and Gia Corley, epitomised the relevance of individual talent throughout the competition.
Branimir Ujević, the FIFA TSG Project Leader, stated: “The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay confirmed the positive trend in terms of coaching. The semi-finalists in particular worked as compact units, while harnessing individual talent to come up with something special and make the difference. Seeing so many players willing to improvise and take the initiative speaks volumes for the level of development, both physically and mentally.”
Patricia González, FIFA’s Head of the TSG, added: “Based on what we saw in Uruguay, we can say that women’s football has a bright future. Besides players with outstanding individual talent, we saw teams willing to take risks by adopting a proactive stance in all facets of the game. This is a very positive sign, as it means that these players will have great confidence and a keen understanding of the game by the time they turn 20.”