Korea DPR maintained their 100 per cent record to finish top of Group C following a hard-fought 2-1 win over Canada, who exit the competition.
The Koreans had to survive a scare in Saitama when Christine Exeter outmuscled Pong Son Hwa, turned and fired the Canucks ahead in the 12th minute.
Kim Un Hwa scored her seventh goal in three matches in Japan to restore parity 12 minutes before the break. After being supplied by Jong Myong Mwa, Kim beat two opponents and fired a shot across the box from 18 yards into the far corner.
The second half mirrored the first in terms of possession and territorial advantage. Korea DPR saw more of the ball and controlled the midfield, with right winger Kim Un Hyang looking particularly dangerous.
Korea DPR took the lead 12 minutes from time when Yun Hyon Hi was felled in the box. She stepped up to take the resulting spot kick and made no mistake.
The Canadians slumped to the turf at the end, left to rue their defeat by Norway which ultimately caused their group stage exit. However, the country’s crop of U-20 players will have the opportunity to go one step further on home soil in two year’s time.
Korea DPR’s reward for topping the group is to stay in Saitama for a quarter-final clash against USA on Friday.
“Playing in this World Cup was crucial for the development of the young players,” said Canada coach Andrew Olivieri. “The senior team has a lot of players who will retire before the 2015 World Cup and everybody is expecting that a lot of players from this U-20 team will play at that World Cup.”