U-20 WWC: Match Day 4 – USA Only Gets a Draw, Germany Ekes Out a Win, Canada Falls to Norway

On the fourth day of group play at the 2012 Under-20 Women’s World Cup, two of the favorites, the United States and Germany each struggled against teams easily dispatched by the other squad in the opening matches of Group D.  The USA,  in a lackluster performance, could only manage a 1:1 draw with China, while Germany needed a stoppage time goal from late sub Lina Magull to pull out a 1:0 win over Ghana. In Group C action, Norway edged out Canada 2:1, while North Korea pummeled Argentina 9:0.

With the results of Thursday’s matches, Germany has mathematically assured advancement to the quarterfinals, while North Korea’s 6 points and +11 goal differential virtually guarantees a spot in the knockout round. The United States are in a good position for making the quarterfinals, even with a loss to Germany in their final group match, as only China could also qualify, but the relative goal differential between the USA and China is +8 in the American’s favor.

In Group C, either Canada or Norway can also advance, with the Norwegians having a slight advantage as they will face minnow Argentina and will likely have an easy win, while Canada has an uphill battle against North Korea. As Norway will almost certainly win its match, Canada needs to defeat the Koreans and have an equal or superior goal differential over Norway in order to make the knockout stage.

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In the earlier match, Kim Un Hwa scored a quintet of goals, while Kim Su Gyong added a trio, as North Korea trounced Argentina 9:0, with seven of those goals coming in the first half.

The later match, between Canada and Norway, was a much tighter affair. In the 19th minute, a Canadian defender pushed a Norwegian attacker off the ball inside Canada’s box, and the referee whistled for a penalty kick. The ensuing shot, taken by Ada Hergerberg was stopped by a diving Sabrina D’Angelo. Twenty-five minutes later, Jenna Richardson scored Canada’s only goal, off a pass from Adriana Leon. But, in the second half, Norway’s Hergberberg sisters each found the back of the net, to give the Norwegians a 2:1 win and a fighting chance to advance to the knockout stage.

Norway’s Caroline Hansen, who is just 17 years-old (born in February 1995), has been a standout so far in this tournament. The midfielder has assists on three of Norway’s four goals, thanks in part due to her speedy and crafty dribbling.

North Korea 9, Argentina 0.
PRK Goals: Yun Hyon Hi (16′), Kim un Hwa (26′, 30′, 41′, 45+2′, 56′), Kim Su Gyong (38′, 44′, 55′).
See Also: FIFA.com match page.

Norway 2, Canada 1.
NOR Goals: Ada Hegerberg (52′), Andrine Hegerberg (79′).
CAN Goal: Richardson (44′).
See Also: FIFA.com match page, CAN write-up.

Group C will play their final opening stage matches on Monday, August 27th, with North Korea facing Canada and Norway taking on Argentina. Both matches kick-off at 6:00 a.m. EDT.

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In the later match, China’s strategy of parking the bus, along with the United States’ (hopefully temporary) lack of a killer goal-scoring instinct, combined for a frustrating match that ended as a 1:1 draw. The USA almost had a goal in the second minute, when Julie Johnston headed a shot off a corner kick that was saved by China’s ‘keeper. But, the USA would only score a lone goal off the foot of Maya Hayes as China’s well-organized defense proved almost too tough to crack. China scored first, in the 19th minute, partially due to some defensive confusion. However the assisting pass and the shot, especially were excellently executed. China’s tight marking of the American wing forwards made using the flanks difficult, but in the 37th minute, Kealia Ohai was able to speed past her defender on a semi-counterattack from midfield. Ohai once again connected with Maya Hayes, who scored her fourth goal of the tournament.

In the earlier match, Germany and Ghana remained level through ninety minutes,with Germany dominating statistically: 24 shots to Ghana’s 5, but only 6 of the German shots were on target; and 60% to 40% in possession. Three of Ghana’s five shots were on target, including one from inside the six-yard box by Florence Dadson, which was saved by Laura Benkarth. Ghana was three minutes from earning a draw when, in stoppage time, Dzsenifer Marozsan found substitute Lina Magull, who then broke away from her spinning defender and slotted in a grounder just pass the reach of Ghana’s goalkeeper, Patricia Mantey.

United States 1, China 1.
USA Goal: Hayes (36′).
CHN Goal: Shen Lili (19′).
See Also: FIFA.com match page, USA write-up, USA quote sheet, ESPN3 replay.

Germany 1, Ghana 0.
GER Goal: Magull (90+1′).
See Also: FIFA.com match page.

Group D concludes its matches on Monday, August 27th, with China playing Ghana and the marquee match-up of group play, Germany versus the United States. Both match kick off at 3:00 a.m. EDT. The USA-Germany match will be shown live on ESPN2.

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The final matches of group play in Groups “A” and “B” will be contested on Sunday. The Group B matches simultaneously kick off at 3:20 a.m. EDT, while the Group A matches both kick off at 6:20 a.m. EDT. Only Brazil vs. South Korea (3:10 a.m. EDT) and Japan/Switzerland (6:10 a.m. EDT) will be televised on ESPNU in the United States.

See this earlier post for more details on the advancement scenarios.

GROUP A — Only Switzerland is mathematically eliminated, but they could play spoiler with an unlikely large win over Japan. However, the more intriguing match is New Zealand versus Mexico, as each team could advance with a win, and the loser, more than likely, going home. However, New Zealand only needs a draw to make the quarterfinals.

GROUP B — All four teams are mathematically alive, with only Nigeria in a strong position of advancing to the knockout stage. Brazil, who only have two points through two draws, are in a must win situation against South Korea. Likewise, the Koreans, who have three points via a win over Italy, will also be looking for a win, although a draw could be enough, depending on the result of the other match, Nigeria vs. Italy. The Africans only need a draw to ensure advancement, although a narrow 1:0 loss to Italy would also suffice.

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