In another goal packed day at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, the USA made it through to the quarter-finals despite losing their first game of the tournament to defending champions Germany.
The defeat, which was the USA’s worst-ever defeat at the U-20 Women’s World Cup, was of little consequence in the end, as third place China was unable to over-come the eight goal deficit needed to leapfrog the U.S in Group D’s other game. Defending champions Germany on the other hand, had already qualified with a game to spare, having earlier beaten China 4-0, and Ghana 1-0.
The U.S started brightly, and some slick passing in midfield almost had Forward Maya Hayes clean through on goal, but a German midfielder managed to get a toe to the ball and clear the danger. Hayes—who was making her 40th appearance for the stars and stripes today—was at the heart of all the U.S’s good attacking play, and the Penn State Forward was unlucky not to provide an assist when she cut a beautiful cross in from the right side, however no-one was at the far post to put it into the net.
Germany slowly began to gain control of the game, and took the lead in the 35th minute when U.S Defender Kasey Kallman failed to clear an up field pass from Germany’s right-back Leonie Maier. The Florida State player failed to get on top on the ball, and her headed clearance bounced up back towards her goal invitingly for German forward Lena Lotzen, who managed to loop the ball over onrushing U.S keeper Bryane Heaberlin.
The defending champions were beginning to take a stranglehold of the game, and killed the game off with two goals in quick succession. In the 53rd minute, Lotzen grabbed her second goal of the game from close range, after Heaberlin failed to keep a hold of Lina Maghull’s effort from the edge of the box. And then just two minutes later Germany extended their lead, when Melanie Leupolz smashed in a superb volley from inside the box, as the U.S once again failed to clear their lines.
The U.S rarely threatened the German back-line, with forward Hayes being their biggest attacking threat, and their first shot on target did not come until the 71st minute, when substitute Kealia Ohai forced Germany keeper Laura Benkarth to make a save. However, the U.S almost grabbed a consolation late on from another of Ohai’s efforts, but the UNC Forward’s shot sailed just wide of the right hand post.
Elsewhere in Group D, China beat Ghana 1-0, but failed to qualify after failing to overhaul the 8-goal deficit needed to leapfrog the U.S into second place.
The U.S will now face Korea DPR on the August 31st, after the Koreans topped Group C, maintaining their 100% with a 2-1 victory over Canada. The Koreans actually fell behind when Christine Exeter put Canada ahead. But a goal from Kim Un Hwa, and a penalty from Yun Hyon Hi ensured the Koreans made it through to the quarters.
In Group C’s other game, Norway thrashed Argentina 4-1 to set up an all-European quarter-final encounter with defending champions Germany.
Nigeria vs Mexico
Japan vs South Korea
Korean DPR vs USA
Germany vs Norway
The standings after todays games: