In this year’s Under-20 Women’s World Cup, Canada got a manageable grouping as their only tough opponent in Group C is North Korea. The least challenging team should be Argentina, who have never made it out of the group stage in its two prior U-20 Women’s World Cups, or in any senior FIFA tournaments. Norway will not be an easy opponent, but Canada should be up to the challenge.
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SENIOR INTERNATIONALS — Defender Agustina Barroso has multiple senior international caps. She, forward Betina Soriano, and goalkeeper Laurina Oliveros were on Argentina’s 2011 Pan American Games roster (AFA). Also, defender Noelia Espindola and midfielder Mariana Larroquette were on the roster for a friendly versus Chile (AFA). – All of these field players may have been capped, but the simple AFA match reports and lack of substitution details makes that difficult to confirm.
TOP SCORERS — In qualifying, Argentina’s leading scorer was Betina Soriano, who had 5 goals over 7 matches. Maria Florencia Bonsegundo was next with 3 goals. In Argentina’s last two friendlies, Yael Oviedo scored a pair of goals in each match.
NOTABLE TUNE-UP FRIENDLIES — In August, Argentina lost 3:4 to Italy. Earlier, in July, Argentina lost two matches to Mexico, 1:0 and 3:1.
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DID NOT MAKE THE CUT — That is the word on Rutger’s Amelia Pietrangelo (CAN profile), who was a surprise omission* from the tournament roster (www.canadiansoccernews.com). Pietrangelo, a forward who has six senior caps, was a last minute addition to Canada’s 2011 Pan American Games Gold Medal squad, where she scored her first international goal. Slightly less surprising is the lack of midfielder Diamond Simpson (CAN profile), who has two seniors caps, but only played 19 minutes in qualifying.
*Wild Speculation: Wondering if there’s more to the story about Pietrangelo. Perhaps we may see her in an Italy jersey someday soon? Although, it is not clear whether Pietrangelo is even eligible for an Italian passport.
TOP GOAL-SCORERS — Jenna Richardson of Oregon State scored 4 of Canada’s 15 goals in qualifying. In the squad’s three tune-up matches, Richardson has 3 goals, including a brace against Italy. Two other players in qualifying scored 3 goals a piece: Nkem Ezurike, and Catherine Charron-Delage. (CONCACAF.com)
TOP GOALIE — Sabrina D’Angelo (U. of South Carolina) had a stand-out qualifying campaign, with four shut-outs. Her only non-shut-out and loss was the USA’s 2:1 salvaged win over Canada in the final.
NOTABLE TUNE-UP FRIENDLIES — In July, Canada defeat Italy 3:0 but drew 1:1 with Switzerland. In August, Canada drew 2:2 with host Japan.
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MANY SENIOR INTERNATIONALS — At least half the roster has a senior international cap. Ten players were on Korea DPR’s Olympic roster, with nine of those seeing on-field action in Great Britain. Four players, including one who was not on the Olympic roster played in the 2011 Women’s World Cup: Kwon Song Hwa (not at the Olympics), plus Jon Myong Hwa, Yun Hyon Hi, and Kim Su Gyong.
SPECIAL ENTRY — North Korea’s contingent of about 40 persons (21 players, plus coaches and staff) is the largest single group from North Korea to enter Japan since 2006, when bans on entry were put in place to protest a nuclear test by North Korea. Japan issued special visas via its embassy in China for Korea DPR’s contingent under a humanitarian and sporting events exception to the ban. (www.japantimes.co.jp)
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SENIOR INTERNATIONALS — Forwards Emilie Haavi and Kristine Wigdahl Hegland were both on Norway’s 2011 Women’s World Cup squad. Haavi started three matches and scored the game-winner in Norway’s 1:0 win over Equatorial Guinea. Midfielder/winger Caroline Hansen, who is just 17 years-old (b. 18-Feb-1995) already has four Women’s Euro qualifying caps and a goal. That goal was in a 11:0 routing of Bulgaria where Hansen also had 5 official assists. (UEFA.com) Midfielder Andrine Hegerberg and goalkeeper Nora Gjøen have been on UEFA Women’s Euro qualifying match rosters, but do not have any caps in qualifying.
DELAYED ROSTER RELEASE — Norway was suppose to release its roster in mid-July, but the team’s 0:5 loss in a friendly to Germany forced Norway’s coach Jarl Torske to rethink his selections for two weeks (fotball.no).
NOTABLE TUNE-UP MATCHES — In April, Norway lost 2:4 to Italy after having a 2:0 lead. In July, Norway fell 0:5 to Germany. Earlier this year, at La Manga, Norway drew 1:1 with Germany, won 5:0 over Switzerland, and lost 0:2 to the USA.
LAST KNOWN FORMATION — According to the DFB, Norway used a 4-3-3 formation against Germany in their July friendly. (DFB.de box score)
BIG LITTLE SISTER — Two siblings are on this squad, Midfielder Andrine Hegerberg (b. June 1993) and forward Ada Hegerberg (b. July 1995). Andrine is a fair 169 centimeters tall (5 feet, 6.5 inches), while Ada is 8 centimeters taller, at 177 centimeters (5 feet, 9.6 inches). See also: NFF profile from 2011 (in Norwegian).
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