Japan defeated Spain in the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 to claim the title on Friday just 15 days after losing 1-0 to the same opponents in the group stage. The tables were turned this time around as Hinata Miyazawa, Saori Takarada and Fuka Nagano scored to steer the Young Nadeshiko to their first triumph in the competition.
England secured third place earlier in the day, with Georgia Stanway putting the typically-spirited Young Lionesses ahead before Emelyne Laurent equalised to send the game to a penalty shootout, where the English ultimately prevailed 4-2. England’s third place is their highest-ever finish at this tournament.
Play-off for third place
France 1-1 (2-4 on penalties) England
Spain 1-3 Japan
Football legends meet volunteers
After more than a month of dedication, smiling faces and high spirits, the volunteer programme drew to a close today in Vannes. With their friendliness and enthusiasm, the helpers made a vital contribution to the success of the tournament. Marcel Desailly, Marinette Pichon and Mikael Silvestre visited the volunteer centre to thank them for their efforts. The football legends talked to the volunteers about the programme, answered questions and took time to pose for photographs and sign autographs.
First penalty shoot-out at France 2018
None of the tournament’s previous knockout matches were decided by penalties as every winning team managed to seal victory within 90 minutes – and then came the play-off for third place. Goals from Stanway and Laurent meant the score was 1-1 when the final whistle sounded, with spot-kicks required to find a winner. After being introduced to the match in the 92nd minute, Georgia Allen scored to give England an unassailable 4-2 lead in the shoot-out – demonstrating that Young Lionesses coach Mo Marley certainly has a talent for making the right substitutions.
Japan on cloud nine
The Young Nadeshiko followed in the footsteps of their senior and U-17 counterparts by lifting their first U-20 Women’s World Cup title – the only one missing from Japan’s collection. The Nadeshiko lifted the trophy in 2011, having also beaten Germany in the quarter-finals, while the Little Nadeshiko triumphed at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica in 2014, where their opponents in the final were none other than Spain. Japan’s latest victory means they are the only nation to have won every age level World Cup in the women’s game.
“It was a very difficult game. We were a bit cautious in the first half. The early goal helped us to settle a bit but maybe gave us a little bit too much confidence, and we stopped doing the things that we have done to get here. France were the better team in the second half and we handed the game away a bit. We were confident when we went to penalties. We’ve been preparing for it for two years and we were pretty much waiting for this moment. We did it and that is credit to the players.”