Group A: European pair advance to the quarters Group B: No joy for North and South Americans France to meet Korea DPR and England to face the Netherlands in the last eight
THE DAY REPLAYED – Groups A and B were played out to a conclusion on Sunday. Making up for a disappointing display against New Zealand in their previous match, France regained their composure against the Netherlands. In easing to a 4-0 win, the hosts took top spot in Group A ahead of the Oranje, who join them in the last eight. In the other match in the section, Ghana beat New Zealand 1-0 to depart France on a high.
Over in Group B, England made sure of first place with a convincing 6-1 defeat of Mexico and will grace the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time in ten years. They were joined there by defending champions Korea DPR, who advanced at the expense of Brazil, thanks to a 2-1 win in their make-or-break meeting.
Group A: Netherlands 0-4 France | Ghana 1-0 New Zealand
Group B: Brazil 1-2 Korea DPR | England 6-1 Mexico
It’s raining goals
Brittany and Great Britain share both similar names and unfortunate reputations for suffering rainfall on a regular basis. As fate would have it, a passing shower coincided with an English goal deluge in Saint-Malo. Making light of the raindrops, the Young Lionesses walked on water in a glorious 20-minute spell to seal their place in the quarter-finals.
Reshuffling his pack after the goalless draw against New Zealand, Bleuettes coach Gilles Eyquem decided to leave his senior players on the bench for the match against the Netherlands and give the squad’s younger members a chance. They took it with both hands, with Amelie Delabre, the youngest player at Eyquem’s disposal, setting the tone with a first-half hat-trick.
History repeats itself
Two years ago Ghana, New Zealand and France all crossed swords in the group phase of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016. On that occasion, the Black Princesses and Junior Football Ferns missed out on places in the last eight, unlike Les Bleuettes, a scenario that has now played out again in France.
A tale of late goals
Events in stoppage time in each of their three group matches decided Brazil’s fate at France 2018. In their opener against Mexico, the South Americans missed a 97th-minute penalty that would have earned them a precious point. Then in their next outing, against England, Ariadina scored their equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time. There was to be a cruel late twist for the Brazilians against Korea DPR, however, as the holders struck three minutes into stoppage time to send the South American champions out of the tournament.
“We never lost our composure, despite Mexico opening the score. We pushed and pushed, and the goals eventually came.”