The 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup kicked off in Canada on Tuesday and after the first round of games it is Korea DPR, Germany, France and England that all lead the way in their groups. However, with two games still to play everything is still up for grabs.
The next round of games take place on Friday and Saturday, but before we concentrate on those we at GotSoccer will give you a quick recap and round up of all the action from the first round.
Finland 1-2 Korea DPR
Korea DPR got their World Cup campaign off to the best start with a narrow 2-1 win over Finland at Toronto’s National Soccer Stadium.
All three of the game’s goals were scored in an entertaining and evenly battled first half, with the European side a tad unfortunate to be edged out by the 2006 champions.
Korea held out an walked away with the victory. (Getty Images)
Finland started the brighter, but found themselves a goal down after only 15-minutes when forward Kim So Hyang headed in from close range after some good work down the left flank by Choe Un Hwa.
12 minutes later Korea DPR doubled their advantage when Choe Yun Gyong let fly with a rasping 25-yard shot, which left Finland keeper and captain Varis with no chance.
However, Finland did not let their heads fall and demonstrated their quality and character by battling their way back into the game. Sini Laaksonen got their goal with a strike that was arguably sweeter than Choe Yun Gyong, directing a thunderbolt from 20 yards into the top left corner of the goal.
In the second-half Finland pressed forward in search of an equalizer and should have drawn level when Sanni Franssi was put through one-on-one. However, Korea DPR managed to see out the game and are now in good shape ahead of their upcoming game against Ghana.
Canada 0-1 Ghana
Hosts Canada got off to a disappointing start losing 1-0 to Ghana in Toronto.
A single goal midway through the first half was enough to see the Black Princesses to victory, and now leaves Canada precariously close to elimination.
Ghana stunned Canada by walking away with all 3 points. (Getty Images)
Forward Sherifatu Sumaila was the goal scorer, finishing from close range after 22-minutes when Edem Atovor’s low drive was parried into her path by Canadian keeper Kailen Sheridan.
Canada almost replied instantly when Emma Fletcher’s well hit shot beat Ghanaian keeper Victoria Agyei, but the Louisiana State University midfielder’s effort rattled the post and Ghana managed to clear their lines.
In the second half Canada, cheered on by 14,834 partisan fans, cranked up the pressure on Ghana with wave after wave of attacks. However, the hosts were unable to convert their chances into goals, with Janine Beckie and Nichelle Prince both guilty of missing gilt edged opportunities.
The loss means Canada must at least draw their next game against Finland if they are to have any hope of qualifying for the next round, while Ghana know a win for them over Korea DPR would see them through to the next round.
Germany 2-0 USA
2012 Champions USA lost their opening game of the 2014 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 2-0 defeat to Germany.
Two second-half goals from Lena Petermann and Theresa Panfil were enough to see Germany avenge their defeat to the USA in the 2012 final.
Andi Sullivan (L) trying to make things happen for the U.S. (Getty Images)
The game was an open and exciting affair with both sides attacking and creating chances. However, excellent goal keeping from both Germany keeper Meike Kamper and U.S. keeper Katelyn Rowland ensured the game was goalless at half-time.
In the second-half, the U.S. started well and began to dominate the match, however, a poor touch from Andi Sullivan in the middle of the field allowed German forward Pauline Bremer to win possession of the ball and slip in forward Lena Petermann, who ran the ball into the penalty area before smashing in a shot off the underside of the bar.
The U.S. rallied and went in search of an equalizer and could have drawn level on a couple of occasion, with Rose Lavelle unlucky not to score after being denied twice from close range by German keeper Kamper, and Lindsey Horan miscuing her header after a quick free kick from Andi Sullivan.
Lena Peterman celebrating her goal against the U.S. (Getty Images)
However, the U.S. began to tire as the game entered into its final minutes and Germany sealed their win in added time when player of the match, Theresa Panfil, was allowed to drive towards the edge of the box unchallenged and hit a shot that nestled into the bottom left corner of the goal.
The defeat leaves holders USA needing a win or at least a draw in their next game against Brazil to have any hopes of qualifying, while Germany know a win against China will see them through.
China 1-1 Brazil
China secured a 1-1 draw against Brazil in their opening game thanks to a last gasp 89th minute goal.
Byanca scored to give Brazil the lead in the 65th minute. (Getty Images)
Brazil took the lead in the 66th minute through forward Byanca, however, the goal was not quite enough to seal a win and China managed to claw their way back thanks to a last-minute goal by substitute Zhang Zhu.
China dominated the first-half, passing the ball well and controlling possession. Yet, for all their control they were unable to create any clear chances and at half-time the score was 0-0 with neither side creating much.
The second-half looked like following the pattern of the first half, until Brazilian forward Byanca lit up the game with a moment of magic; rainbow flicking a ball over a defender and hitting a shot that was parried wide by Chinese keeper Lu.
The skill seemed to spark Brazil into life with Byanca at the heart of all their good attacking play. And so it was no surprise when she opened the scoring reacting first after a pass ricocheted across the box to prod the ball past the oncoming keeper before scoring into an empty net.
However, Byanca’s game was to end prematurely when she hurt her foot while attempting a pass and Brazil’s dominance began to wane in her absence.
Zhang Zhu of China celebrates the equaliser.(Getty Images)
China made three second-half substitutions and dominated the last quarter of the game as they went in search of an equalizer. But they were still finding it hard to trouble the Brazilian goal and it seemed they had run out of ideas.
However, with just a minute left to play they finally got their reward when a lobbed free kick into the box led to a goal mouth scrabble that eventually landed at the feet of substitute Zhang Zhu, who made no mistake smashing in a shot from less than five yards out.
England 1-1 Korea Republic
England and Korea Republic played out a 1-1 draw in their opening game of the 2014 FIFA U-20s Women’s World Cup after a nervy 90 minutes.
Korea Republic took the lead in the first half thanks to a penalty scored by Lee Sodam, but England leveled midway through the second half with a goal from Martha Harris.
England and Korea Republic both struggled to make their mark. (Getty Images)
The game represented the first time these two sides had faced one another at a U-20 Women World Cup, and the weight of the occasion appeared to show with both sides making a series of unforced errors during the opening periods of the game.
Korea started the better and was rewarded for their adventure in the 15th minute when Lee Sodam converted a penalty after England defender Aoife Mannion was adjudged to have handled a cross.
England almost had an instant reprieve through Katie Zelem whose effort struck the crossbar, while Korea keeper Min Yukyeong blocked Nikita Parris’ shot just before the half drew to a close to keep the score line 1-0 at the break.
The second half was rather scrappy with both teams sloppy in possession. Korea had chances to double their lead from a series of dangerous set pieces, but they failed to convert their opportunities and in the end they were made to pay when England equalized.
An indirect free-kick delivered by Zelem in the 68th minute was not cleared by Korea keeper Min Yukyeong and defender Martha Harris was more than happy to tap into the gaping goal.
Both teams went in search of a winner as the game drew to a close, but neither side possessed the skill or imagination to muster a winner and in the end a draw was a fair result.
Mexico 1-1 Nigeria
Mexico got their first points of the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup with a 1-1 draw against Nigeria in Moncton.
Both goals came in the first-half with Mexico scoring first through Fabiola Ibbara, but Nigeria leveled just before half-time thanks to Osarenoma Igbinovia.
Nigeria started the game brightly, using their trademark speed and strength to dominate the opening passages of the game, and should have taken the lead when Asisat Oshoala latched onto a ball over the top. However, the midfielder fluffed her lines chipping a shot over the onrushing keeper and clear of the cross bar.
Mexico and Nigeria took the share of the points. (Getty Images)
Mexico slowly settled into their rhythm and soon opened the scoring when Fabiola Ibarra profited from headed clearance from Nigeria’s goalkeeper, who tried to nullify a break away over the top. However, the forward still had a lot to do and showed great skill to lob the ball over goalkeeper Sandra Chiichii.
Nigeria responded strongly and almost drew level through Loveth Ayila whose shot well saved by Mexico keeper Cecilia Santiago. However, the Green Eagles were not to be denied and drew level three minutes before the break, when Osarenoma Igbinovia latched onto a defensive error before firing an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner of the goal.
In the second-half both sides went in search of a winner, with Nigeria looking the most likely to score. However, neither side possessed the quality and game ended in stalemate.
The draw leaves Group C finely poised with all four sides level on one-point.
France 5-1 Costa Rica
France sent a message out to all their U-20 World Cup rivals with a terrific 5-1 win over Costa Rica.
Goals from Lavogez ( 7’ pen, 38’), Robert (18’), Sarr (52’), as well as an own goal from Costa Rica reaffirmed France’s credentials as one of the tournament favorites.
The French dominated from the outset and took the lead within seven minutes when Claire Lavogez slotted in a penalty after Faustine Robert was taken down in the box.
11-minutes later Robert had another telling contributions, doubling France’s lead with a finish from six-yards after a tremendous dribble from Forward Kadidatou Diani.
France showed their class in their opening game go their tournament. (Getty Images)
The outlook was not looking great for Costa Rica and it went from bad to worse when Fabiola Villalobos inadvertently sliced her clearance into her own net from a Lavogez cross. The France No. 10 then scored a peach of a goal looping in a shot from the right hand side of the box to make the score-line 4-0 after only 38-minutes.
One sensed the score-line might reach double figures, but France failed to maintain their attacking momentum from the first half. Nevertheless they did still manage to score one more time, with Ouleymata Sarr scoring at the second attempt after being put through with a delightful pass from Sandie Toletti.
Despite the scoreline Costa Rica never dropped their heads and were rewarded for their hard work when Melissa Herrera, easily Costa Rica’s top performer, scored at the second attempt to claim the goal her excellent performance deserved.
New Zealand 2-0 Paraguay
New Zealand got their World Cup campaign off to the best start earning a 2-0 win over South Americans Paraguay.
The Kiwis have never progressed past the group stage, but first half goals from Emma Rolston and Steph Skilton mean New Zealand are well placed to make history.
In a tight game with few chances, it was Skilton who looked most likely to provide the moment of inspiration that would break the deadlock. The Kiwi midfielder created the games first real chance, dribbling past several defenders before playing a one-two and hitting a shot that was well saved by Paraguay’s keeper.
New Zealand would make history if they get out of the group stages. (Getty Images)
Paraguay also had a chance with Jessica Martinez weaving her way past the Kiwi defense and feeding Tania Espinola, who hit a firm shot just wide.
That miss proved costly and with five minutes to go before the break New Zealand found a breakthrough. Emma Rolston was the scorer, curling a left-footed shot just inside the post from the edge of the box after a collecting a pass from Steph Skilton. Three minutes later it was Skilton’s turn to score, finishing into an empty net after some terrific work from captain Katie Bowen.
In the second-half Paraguay pushed forward in search of an equalizer, as New Zealand protected their lead. However, they were unable to find a break through with Silvana Romero’s audacious 30-yard lob their closest effort.
Paraguay and Costa Rica now face one another knowing defeat will result in elimination, while New Zealand face France for a place at the top of Group D.