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Youth Olympics

Final quartet on the home stretch

(FIFA.com)
China's Wan Wenting (L) vies for the ball with Mexico's Alma Verania Lopez Almaraz

Competition for medals is hotting up at the Girls’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament Nanjing 2014 with two eagerly awaited semi-finals, and the teams from Venezuela and China PR will need to demonstrate the quality that has made them the two leading medal contenders.

The matches
Venezuela - Mexico, Wutaishan Stadium, Saturday 23 August, 18:00 local time
Venezuela strode into the penultimate round buoyed by two clear victories, following up their 7-0 trouncing of Papua New Guinea with a comprehensive 6-2 win against Slovakia. Coach Kenneth Zseremeta’s side count experience and attacking efficiency among their greatest strengths; six squad members previously featured at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014, where their progress was only halted in the semi-finals by eventual champions Japan. 

Venezuelan hopes for an even better finish in Nanjing primarily rest on U-17 Women’s World Cup 2014 adidas Golden Boot winner Deyna Castellanos, who has already found the net seven times during this tournament.

Nevertheless, Mexico will provide a tough challenge in the last four. Although the CONCACAF representatives began their campaign with a narrow defeat by China PR, their quality shone through during their resounding win against Namibia. The Mexicans have a very well balanced team, while Daniela Garcia, Montserrat Hernandez and Alejandra Zaragoza pose a formidable threat in attack.

China PR – Slovakia, Wutaishan Stadium, Saturday 23 August, 20:45 local time

The hosts will go into this match as clear favourites having negotiated the group stages with tremendous discipline and enthusiasm. The Chinese side’s rampant 10-0 victory against Namibia was a record scoreline for the Girls’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament. Despite this success, the home nation cannot afford to underestimate the threat posed by their semi-final opponents.
Slovakia, making their first appearance at the finals of a FIFA women’s tournament, can play with complete freedom after making a historic march to the last four. Midfield maestro Martina Surnovska and her team-mates rose admirably to the challenge of the group stages, and their tireless pursuit of the next goal means fans at the Wutaishan Stadium should be treated to a lively and eventful encounter.


The stat  13 – So far, Venezuela have been the most prolific team at the Girls’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament in Nanjing. The South Americans have already celebrated 13 successful strikes, almost a third of the 40 goals scored in the entire competition to date.

The player to watch

Veronika Jancova (SVK)

The Slovan Bratislava midfielder has looked like a fully-fledged No10 in this tournament so far. She uses her technical skills, game intelligence and initiative to consistently create opportunities for her team-mates but is also not afraid to look for a finish herself. Jancova was rewarded for her efforts with her first tournament goal in the 4-0 win over Papua New Guinea, and it is unlikely to be her last.

Did you know?

Three of Mexico’s players are on the books of football clubs in the USA: Kelsey Brann and Kimberly Rodriguez of Texas Rush and Slammers FC’s Marianna Maldonado.

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