THE DAY REPLAYED – What would football be without a little uncertainty and excitement? On the basis of Tuesday’s four results at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016, the eight teams that make up the last two groups probably had that question in mind, leaving everything to be decided in the final round of games this coming Saturday. Even Paraguay, who have suffered two heavy defeats to date, still have a chance of reaching the last eight.

In Group D, only Japan fulfilled expectations, easing to a comfortable win over La Albirrojita, just as they had done in the two previous meetings between the sides. Fellow title candidates USA saw their hopes of early qualification for the knockout phase vanish with defeat to a combative Ghana side, a result that has left the section wide open. The same can be said for Group C, where the situation is even tighter following England’s latest draw, against Nigeria, and Brazil’s defeat to Korea DPR, who now top the pool.

Group C
Nigeria 0-0 England
Brazil 0-1 Korea DPR

Group D
USA 1-2 Ghana
Paraguay 0-5 Japan

Goal of the day
Brazil 0-1 Korea DPR, Ri Hae-Yon, 71
While not Tuesday’s most spectacular strike, it was certainly a vital one. After opening up with a draw against England, Korea DPR had nothing on their mind but taking all three points against Brazil. A keenly contested match could have gone either way in the second half. As it turned out, it went the way of the North Koreans, with Ja Un-Yong doing well to cut the ball back from the byline and Ri Hae-Yon thumping it in following a neat dummy by Ko Kyong-Hui. The only goal of the game, it put Korea DPR in control of a tight Group C ahead of the final matchday.

Memorable moments
Castellanos has her imitators

Venezuela forward Deyna Castellanos turned the tournament on its head on Monday with her last-gasp, match-winning strike from the halfway line against Cameroon, a stunningly audacious goal that not one but two players sought to replicate in Tuesday’s games. Unfortunately for them, the keepers were wise to their ploys. The first long range attempt of the day came in Amman, where Ghana’s Philicity Asuako tried her luck with a free-kick fully 40 metres out. USA custodian Laurel Ivory was equal to the task, however, and tipped the ball over the bar.

Twenty kilometres away in Al Zarqa, Nigeria’s Catherine Kenneth had similar ideas, letting fly with a long-distance dipping effort of her own that bounced wickedly, just short of the England goal, with keeper Ellie Roebuck doing just enough to tip it over. It would seem that Deyna is one of a kind, for the time being at least.

A show of solidarity
Ghana had some unexpected support in the stands as they came from behind to beat USA, with the entire Cameroon squad turning up to cheer them on at the King Abdullah II International Stadium. Though they were in no mood to party after suffering a second defeat on Monday to crash out of the tournament, the Baby Lions decided to spend their day off cheering on the Black Maidens, a gesture that will be repaid, as grateful Ghana captain Sandra Owusu Ansah confirmed: “Even though they’re out, we’re going to go and support them at their final game. We really want them to win.”

Nojima takes her chance
Having sat out Japan’s opening match at Jordan 2016, Sakura Nojima made the most of her opportunity against Paraguay, coming into the side as one of six changes from the team that beat Ghana 5-0. The forward opened her account for the day on 22 minutes and within 15 had completed a quick-fire hat-trick, underlining the fact that Little Nadeshiko are a formidable unit, whoever is on the pitch. Just as they had done against the Ghanaians, the Japanese went into the break 4-0 up and added a late goal to complete another five-star win.

The stat
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The first win for an African team at Jordan 2016 finally came on day four of the tournament. Not surprisingly, the honour went to Ghana, who came third at Azerbaijan 2012, the best finish by an African side in the history of the competition. The Ghanaians began that tournament with a defeat, just as they have done here. Will history repeat itself?

The words
“The main problem facing us here in Jordan is physical. We know that facing Ghana, Paraguay and USA in the space of a few days is not easy for the players. That’s why, when it comes to naming the team, I’m looking at each game individually and adapting to the circumstances.”
Japan coach Naoki Kusunose explains making six changes to the team that beat Ghana 5-0

Next matchday
Saturday 8 October (all times local)

Group C
Korea DPR-Nigeria, 16.00
Brazil-England, 16.00

Group D
Japan-USA, 19.00
Paraguay-Ghana,  19.00