Japan breezed into the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup earlier today, thrashing Mexico 9-0 to maintain their perfect start to the tournament, and top group C with an impressive 17 goals scored.
The 2010 runners-up had already effectively qualified, with only a freak set of results able of denying them a place in the next round. However, a goal after only eight minutes soon put any thoughts of freak results to bed, and by the thirty-minute mark the young Nadeshiko had already cruised into a 5-0 lead.
Risa Shimizu opening the scoring after some nice interplay with Yui Narumiya and Akari Shiraki. Narumiya then added one from the spot, before an Akari Shiraki brace and a goal from Ayaka Inoue virtually ended the contest before half time.
The Japanese took their foot off the gas in the second-half, though they did still manage to put another four past Mexico before the ninety minutes were up, with Yuka Momiki scoring the pick of the bunch with an impressive free-kick, before Mizuki Nakamura ended the punishment with a header late on to send Mexico home from Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile, Group C’s other qualifier, Brazil, saw off a tenacious New Zealand side in a thrilling 4-3 encounter.
The Kiwis got off to a perfect start with Emily Jensen scoring from a corner after only four minutes. However, Brazil soon restored parity with Byanca evading the Kiwi defenders and looping a shot over keeper Alfred.
A Seleção then took the lead in spectacular style, Brena teeing herself up from Byanca’s cross using her thigh, before unleashing an unstoppable volley past Kiwi Keeper Alfred. Andressa then added one from the spot for Brazil, before an own goal got New Zealand back into the game just before the break.
Camilla restored Brazil’s two-goal cushion ten minutes into the second-half, before Puketapu gave New Zealand hope of achieving a famous comeback in the 77th-minute. However, Brazil managed to soak up the pressure in the closing stages to take second place in Group C and progress to the quarters.
Elsewhere, Germany topped Group D after a 5-2 win over Uruguay. The Europeans took the lead in the 14th minute from a wonderful free-kick by Sara Däbritz that left the keeper with no chance.
Just before the half was out, Uruguay equalized from Yamila Badell. Germany soon restored their lead after the interval though, with Knaak’s shot proving too hot for Gabriela Gonzalez’s fingers.
A second goal from Däbritz, as well as further goals from Kiessling and Beck ensured Germany victory, before Badell added her and Uruguay’s second goal of the game with a late header.
Group D second spot went to Ghana after they saw off China PR in a 2-0 win to qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time.
China, who was only seconds away from beating Germany the other night, has played some stylish technical soccer at Azerbaijan 2012, and was fancied by many to overcome Ghana.
However, China struggled to impose their style of play on the West Africans, and two goals from Jane Ayieyam, a tap in the first half, and a one-woman counter-attack late on, were enough to see the Black Stars through to their maiden quarter-final at the third time of asking.
The quarter-finals take place on the 4th and 5th of October.
Nigeria v France
Korea DPR v Canada
Japan v Ghana
Germany v Brazil