By Tim Grainey
This week, the Roundup looks at the U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan.
FIFA-U-20 World Cup Quarterfinalists Set
The field for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, currently being held in Japan, was halved to eight quarterfinalists (for the 16 teams in the four first-round groups) after one week of first round action.
In Group A, Japan was undefeated with 2 wins and a 2-2 draw with New Zealand. Mexico blasted New Zealand 4-0 on Sunday, August 26 in a crucial battle for the second spot. Mexico finished second in the group and advanced to the knockout stage with six points. The Kiwis go home with four points. Japan used all home-based players during the tournament while last place Switzerland’s starting goalkeeper in the first two games, Pascale Kueffer, plays in Germany with recently promoted Sindelfingen of the Frauen-Bundesliga. Two-thirds of Mexico’s 21 players are U.S. based, most of who play in college. Olivia Jimenez, 20, played in the WPSL with Arizona Rush two seasons ago but bypassed college to play with the Mexican National Teams program and has two goals in Japan. Sofia Huerta of Santa Clara University scored one goal in each first-round match. Home-based Cecilia Santiago is 17 but was a sensation in last summer’s Women’s World Cup as a 16 year old starter. Defenders Bianca Sierra and Ashley Kotero both play at Auburn.
New Zealand had one player in England’s FA WSL: forward Katie Rood while forward Rosie White—who appeared in last summer’s Women’s World Cup in Germany--scored two goals and returns to college ball at UCLA, where she is a sophomore.
In Group B, 2010 U-20 World Cup runner-up Nigeria was undefeated; the only blemish on a perfect record was a 1-1 tie with Brazil. Korea Republic finished second after defeating Brazil and Italy. Italy, Korea Republic and Nigeria all brought squads consisting entirely of home-based players. Brazil had one player with a foreign side: forward Glaucia, who plays for Hyundai Steel Red Angels in the Korea Republic.
In Group C, Korea DPR won all three group games versus Norway, Canada and Argentina. Norway took second over Canada, who battled hard in their last match versus North Korea but fell 2-1. Korea DPR and Norway both used home-based players. Argentina used one U.S. collegian—Gabriela Iribarne of Rice University in Texas. Iribarne is a native of Southern California who graduated from Laguna Hills High School. She was invited to an Argentinian National Team Camp in 2010.
Seventeen of Canada’s 21 players play collegiately in the U.S. Three universities provided two Canadians for the tournament: the University of Louisville sent defender Rachel Melhado and forward Christine Exeter, the University of Michigan lost defender Shelina Zadorsky and forward Nkem Ezurike and the University of Memphis had midfielder Kylie Davis and forward Christabel Oduro called in for the trip. Adriana Leon of the University of Florida scored a hat trick in Canada’s opening match, a 5-0 win over Argentina. Against the North Koreas, Christine Exeter gave Canada an early lead in the 12th minute but Kim Un Hwa tied up the match in the 33rd minute (her seventh of the tournament) and then North Korea won from a late penalty by Yun Hyon Hi in the 78th minute.
Germany, the reigning U-20 champions, surprised the Americans with a 3-0 victory on Monday April 27 in the final Group D match. The U.S., with four points from one win, one tie and one defeat, still went through to the quarterfinals on goal difference (+1) over China (-3) while Ghana headed home with no goals and three defeats. The U.S and China were comprised of all home-based players. One member each from Germany and Ghana are based in the States: Germany’s Sophie Howard plays in defense for the University of Central Florida while Ghana’s Candice Osei-Agyemang is from the Seattle area and will play at the University of Arizona this fall, after transferring from the University of Pennsylvania. She was on Ghana’s U-17 team at the 2008 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand.
Five universities contributed multiple members to the U.S. side:
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (3)—goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin, defender Crystal Dunn and forward Kealia Ohai
Duke (2)--defender Mollie Pathman and forward Kelly Cobb
Notre Dame (2)--defender Cari Roccaro and midfielder Mandy Lassish
Penn State (2)--forwards Maya Hayes and Taylor Schram
UCLA (2)--midfielders Samantha Mewis and Sarah Killion
The quarterfinals begin on Thursday August 30 in Tokyo: Nigeria plays Mexico while, in an all-Asian battle, hosts Japan face neighbors Korea Republic. On Friday August 31 in Saitama: Germany plays Norway and the U.S. squares off against Korea DRP—a repeat of the 2008 U-20 World Cup final in Chile that the U.S. won 2-1, on goals by current national team forwards Syndey Leroux and Alex Morgan. The U.S lost the final of the first FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand 1-2 on a late goal, three minutes from the end of the second overtime period.
Tim Grainey is a regular contributor to Soccer365. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham was released earlier this month. Get your copy today.
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