Under-20 Women’s World Cup: Group D – Preview Notes (USA, Ghana, China, Germany)

The United States and Germany both got a challenging draw in this year’s Under-20 Women’s World Cup, as the two favorites find themselves in the same group for the first time in any FIFA women’s tournament. The USA finds itself opening this tournament against Ghana for the second time in a row. Ghana got a surprising 1:1 draw with the USA last time around. The final Group D opponent is China, whom the USA played twice earlier this year, winning both friendlies.

Also, see this write-up which has notes on the USA’s and its group opponents’ rosters.

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WHERE’S LINDSEY HORAN? — Horan, the leading goal-scorer for the the team this year is out with a meniscus injury that was operated on in July. This is not an insignificant loss, but is upset by the return of Kelly Cobb and allows the addition of target forward Becca Wann.

GOAL-SCORING LEADERS — With Horan’s absence, the leading goal-scorer currently on the team is Stanford forward Chioma Ubogagu who has primarily been used in a super-sub capacity. Ubogagu has 8 goals in the squad’s 13 matches so far this year. Tied for second-place with 6 goals a piece are forwards Katie Stengel (Wake Forest) and Maya Hayes (Penn State).

NOTABLE TUNE-UP FRIENDLIES — In June, the USA split two matches with Japan, losing the first 0:1, but winning the second 2:0. The USA defeated Germany 1:0 at La Manga in March and beat China twice in April. (USSoccer.com)


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SEE ALSO — Ghana Fact File (June 13th)

PROBLEMS, THEY’VE HAD A FEW — First, in June, there was an issue of funding, which saw Ghana’s FA send home the U-20s and U-17s who were both in camp. That was mainly about not having enough money for food. In July, there was reportedly an issue regarding water and shelter due to an African confederation coaching course that was held at the U-20s’ training facility (footy-ghana.com). At the end of July, the team’s training camp in the USA was in doubt due to some players on the squad would go on strike if they were not paid their overdue bonuses from qualifying (footy-ghana.com).

NOTABLE TUNE-UP FRIENDLIES — Ghana split a pair of friendlies with Nigeria, winning 3:2 and losing 1:2. Oh, and the Nigeria coach accused Ghana of being too physical. (Cf. Hamm, Mia versus Nigeria in the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Also, in the 2010 U-20 WWC quarterfinal with the USA, Nigeria committed 25 fouls on the USA. The USA just 5.)

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ONLY A FEW CHANGES FROM THE SPRING — In April, China brought a squad of 21 players to California where they lost a pair of friendlies to the United States. (U.S. Soccer match reports for the first friendly, a 4:1 USA win, and the second, a 3:0 USA win.) Sixteen of those players are on China’s tournament roster, including nine who started both friendlies. The most glaring omission is the starting goalkeeper from those two friendlies, Yang Yan. The nine starters included China’s backline of Wu/Yu Haiyan, Lin Yuping, Huang Yini, and Wang YingYing, plus its midfield of Zhang Xin, Song Sicheng, Liu Shanshan, and Wang Shuang, along with forward Yao Shuangyan. Another forward, Li Ying, started the first friendly.

NOTABLE TUNE-UP FRIENDLIES — In August, China defeated Mexico 2:1. In April, China lost twice to the USA.

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DZENIFER MAROZSAN… AND SOME OTHER PLAYERS — Already-capped senior international Dzenifer Marozsan was a late addition to the squad, more due to her other commitments than anything else. Two other players already have senior caps, centerback Luisa Wensing and forward Lena Lotzen, who were both part of Germany’s 2012 Algarve Cup roster. The team captain for most of this cycle has been Ramona Petzelberger, who was a standout during the 2011 qualifying tournament.

INJURIES, THEY’VE HAD MORE THAN A FEW — Before its final two camps, Germany had already lost two important defenders to injuries, starting centerback Johanna Elsig and back-up centerback Kristin Demann. After Germany announced their final roster, they lost another defender, Clara Schöne, and Lisa Schmitze, their primary back-up ‘keeper, to injuries.


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