In an action-packed, goal-bonanza day at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, the quarter-finals began to take shape, as Korea Republic, Mexico, Nigeria, and hosts Japan booked their places in the last eight along with defending champions Germany.
The US will seal their fate on Monday, needing only a draw to ensure progressing.
Hosts Japan recorded their biggest-ever win in a tournament, thumping their already eliminated opponents Switzerland 4-0, thanks to two free-kicks from Yoko Tanaka, a goal from sub Asuka Nishikawa, and a late penalty by Hikaru Naomoto. The win, which was achieved in front of a tournament high crowd of 16,000, ensured Japan topped Group A, and kept their dream alive of emulating the Japanese Senior team who won the World Cup in Germany last year.
Elsewhere, in Group A, Mexico also found their shooting boots, beating New Zealand 4-0. Four second-half goals, from Sofia Huerta, Natalia Gomez Junco, Yamile Franco, and Ollvia Jimenez meant Mexico progressed to the second stage at the expense of the Kiwis.
In Group B, Nigeria moved into the quarters brushing aside Italy 4-0. A hat trick from Francisca Ordega, and a late goal from substitute Osarenoma Igbinovia allowed the Falconets to cruise into the quarters and top Group B.
The second spot in the group was taken by South Korea, who saw off rivals Brazil 2-0. Brazil needed a win to qualify, after drawing their first two games in the group. South Korea on the other hand knew a draw would guarantee them safe passage intto the quarters, and played as such, offering very little as an attacking threat. Brazil stretched and threatened for prolong periods of the game, but were caught on the break twice late on, with Jeoun Eunha putting the finishing touches to counter-attacks twice.
Brazil’s elimination is the biggest surprise of the tournament thus far, as the South American champions were fancied by many to do well at this year’s tournament.
The results means Nigeria will line up against Mexico in first quarterfinal, while neighbors Japan and South Korea will reignite their rivalries in the second quarterfinal. Both games will take place in Tokyo on Thursday August 30th.
The standings after todays games: