U-20 WWC: Match Day 1 – Japan Cruises, New Zealand Wins, Italy and Brazil Tie

On Sunday, the 2012 edition of the Under-20 Women’s World Cup kicked off. In Group A, host Japan ended up with a dominant victory over Mexico, while New Zealand’s quality helped itself earn a win against Switzerland. Over in Group B, Nigeria finds itself alone atop the group after defeating South Korea, due to Brazil and Italy drawing in their earlier match.

There have already been a handful of standout goals in this tournament, with Amanda’s late equalizer for Brazil and Rosie White’s game-winner against Switzerland being the top two on this first day.

Highlights are available for all matches on FIFA’s website. The individual match pages, hyperlinked below, also have highlights for the particular match.

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New Zealand’s hopes of making the knock-out stage for the first time in this tournament are very much alive thanks to its 2:1 win over Switzerland. The match was a tight affair, although the Young Ferns were reportedly the more quality squad. Late in the match, there was a non-call on an apparent New Zealand foul which would have given Switzerland a penalty kick opportunity.

Japan got off to a strong start, dominating Mexico to a 4:1 win. Japan had just under tw0-thirds of possession and 24 shots to Mexico’s 8. Slightly concerning for Japan was its lack of shot accuracy, as only 9 of those 24 shots were on target. Sofia Huerta, who entered the match in the 41st minute, was a bright spot for Mexico. The forward got a late consolation goal when Japan’s goalkeeper, was unable to grab hold of the ball due to a Mexican player getting her head to the ball at the same time. The ball landed in front of Huerta, who volleyed in a poached goal.

New Zealand 2, Switzerland 1.
NZL Goals: Millynn (39′), R. White (52′).
SUI Goal: Aigbogun (SUI 90+1′).
See Also: FIFA.com match page.

U-20 WWC: Japan 4, Mexico 1.
JPN Goals: Shibata (32′), Naomoto (56′), Yokoyama (77′), Y. Tanaka (89′ PK).
MEX Goal: Huerta (90+1′).
See Also: FIFA.com match page, ESPN3 Replay.

The next matches for Group A are on Wednesday, August 22nd, with Mexico vs. Switzerland at 3:20 a.m. (not televised in the USA) and Japan vs. New Zealand at 6:20 a.m. (ESPNU/ESPN3).

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The ‘soft opening’ match of this year’s tournament was anything but gentle. The match featured 30 official fouls, with Italy out-fouling Brazil 18 to 12. Five yellow cards were handed out by American referee Margaret Domka, included a pair in less than a minute to Italy’s Federica di Criscio who entered the match in the 60th minute and exited just 15 minutes later. Also sent off was Italy’s coach, Corrado Corradini.

In the other match, Nigeria versus South Korea, the African squad had a relatively easy time against the Koreans, who despite having almost an equal amount of possession, could not create enough dangerous chances.

Brazil 1, Italy 1.
ITA Goal: Linari (ITA 38′, FK).
BRA Goal: Amanda (BRA 90+2′).
See Also: FIFA.com match page, ESPN3 Replay.

Nigeria 2, South Korea 0.
NGA Goals: Okobi (15′), Oparanozie (67′).
See Also: FIFA.com match page.

Group B will play again on Wednesday, August 22nd, with Brazil taking on Nigeria at 2:00 a.m. EDT (ESPNU/ESPN3) and Italy facing South Korea (not televised in the USA).

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GROUP D — The United States begins its quest for a third title at this age group when it takes on Ghana in a match that kicks off at 3:00 a.m. EDT, and will be televised on ESPNU (also available online at ESPN3.com). In the later match, Germany, who are also looking for a third title, will play China at 6:00 a.m. EDT (not televised in the USA).

GROUP C — Canada will be looking to get off to a winning start by hopefully vanquishing Argentina. That match kicks-off at 6:00 a.m. and will be televised on ESPNU and online via ESPN3.com. The earlier match, with a 3:00 a.m. kick-off, is Norway vs. North Korea (not televised in the USA).

AND, THEN A REST DAY — On Tuesday, August 21st, there are no matches.

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