Under-20 Women’s World Cup: Preview Notes (Overview)

What do Lindsay Tarpley, Simone Laudehr, Jo Yun Mi,  Alex Morgan, and Alexandra Popp have in common? Each of those players scored a  game-winner in the final of an Under-20 or Under-19 Women’s World Cup.

What about Christine Sinclair, Marta, Sydney Leroux, and Popp? — Each of those players was named the tournament MVP of an Under-20 or Under-19 Women’s World Cup.

Yes, before Tarpley, Laudehr, Jo, Morgan, Popp, Sinclair, Marta, and Leroux were standouts on the senior international stage, they made their mark in this tournament.

They have been joined by the likes of Cristiane, Heather O’Reilly, Lori Chalupny, Leslie Osborne, Erin McLeod, Carmelina Moscato, Candace Chapman, Kara Lang, Linda Bresonik, Fara Williams, Alex Scott, Anita Asante, Laura Georges, Camile Abily, Yukari Kinga, Shinobu Ohno, Karina Maryuama, and Miho Fukumoto. — And, that’s just players from the 2002 tournament.

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THE 2012 EDITION OF THE FIFA UNDER-20 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP kicks-off early Sunday morning, at 2:00 a.m. EDT, with a soft-opening match of Brazil versus Italy. Host Japan kicks off at 6:00 a.m. EDT against Mexico. Both matches will be shown live on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. For the full ESPN schedule, see this earlier write-up.

The linked pages below have brief notes on all of the sixteen squads in the tournament.

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REFEREES — Assignments are already available for the first two match days at refereeingworld.blogspot.com. For USA-Ghana, the referee is Teodora Albon of Romania. She ref’ed the USA-Sweden Volvo Winners Cup match in June (USSoccer.com match report). American Marget Domka will be the center referee for Brazil-Italy.

OFFICIAL MICRO-SITE — The direct link for FIFA’s micro-site for this tournament is at
www.fifa.com/u20womensworldcup/. Video highlights should be available for all matches within a few hours of each match. Hopefully, those videos will also be posted to FIFA’s YouTube channel.

FAVORITES? — The United States and reigning champions Germany seem to be the consensus top two picks. Right up there with them is Japan. But, other squads such as Brazil and Canada could win it all. But, youth tournaments are inherently less predictable than senior tournaments, so picking a winner is even more challenging than normal.

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