On Saturday, October 13th, France claimed its first Women’s World Cup title at any age level by knocking off North Korea on penalties in the final of the 2012 Under-17 Women’s World Cup. In the earlier Third Place Match, Germany lost to Ghana 0:1, even though Ghana played with 10 win for the last 58 minutes of the match.
The title match was tied after regulation at one goal a piece and it took eight rounds of spot kicks to decide the winner. In the match, France was the more competent team early in the match and scored the opening goal in the 33rd minute when Lea Declerq latched onto a long pass and took a one-time shot to the far corner of the net. However, North Korea attacked with much more urgency in the second half and finally got an equalizer in the 79th minute when Golden Boot winner Ri Un Sim slotted in a rebound after one of her teammate’s shot rebounded off the work. Although, it appears that Ri was in a slightly offside position on the initial shot by her teammate.
After the end of regulation, the match went straight to the shoot-out, which ended 4-4 after the normal five rounds, as each goalkeeper made a save. The shoot-out went three more rounds, with France’s goalkeeper, Romane Bruneau, who won the Golden Glove as best ‘keeper, stopping North Korea’s final spot kick to win France the title.
The Golden Ball, for the tournament’s MVP, went to France’s centerback, Griedge Mbock Bathy.
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Looking Ahead: The next Under-17 Women’s World Cup will be held in April 2014, with Costa Rica as the host. Since Costa Rica is in CONCACAF, this means that there will be only two slots for the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the other teams in the confederation to claim. So, a repeat of 2010 (when the USA failed to qualified for the U-17 WWC in Trinidad & Tobago) is possible.