FIFA U-20 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: Germany crowned, France end on a high

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THE DAY REPLAYED – It is said that good things come to those who wait, and the patience of Montreal’s fans was certainly rewarded handsomely as Canada 2014 reached a dramatic conclusion. In the final, it took 98 minutes to find a winner, but when Lena Petermann popped up with a truly golden goal, Germany were able to celebrate a record-equalling third FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup crown.

It is unlikely that either of the previous two were quite so hard-earned, with the Germans – having survived the competition’s ‘group of death’ – having since gone on to record battling wins against the hosts, France and Nigeria. The Super Falconets were the latest opponents left not only to curse their luck and wayward finishing, but the unquenchable spirit of a nation that continues to make a pleasant habit of winning regardless of the circumstances. If there is consolation to be found in defeat for the Africans, it is that they contributed superbly to the final and the tournament as a whole, and in Asisat Oshoala – winner of the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Shoe – have unearthed a rare gem.

France, meanwhile, rounded off a thoroughly creditable campaign with a 3-2 win over Korea DPR, securing third place amid a rush of second-half goals. There too, fans needed to sit through a goalless first half before the excitement belatedly arrived. But there was ultimately plenty both for them to enjoy and for to chew over in our final Canada 2014 round-up.

Nigeria 0-1 Germany aet
Match for Third Place
Korea DPR 2-3 France

Goal of the day
Korea DPR-France 1-2, Aminata Diallo (66)
When Claire Lavogez slipped a pass to Aminata Diallo wide on the right, crossing seemed to be the France No6’s only option. Diallo had other ideas though, and having spied the Korea DPR keeper slightly off her line, sensed glory. What followed was a remarkable 30-yard shot that sailed in from the wing, above the startled Kim Chol-Ok, and clipped the underside of the crossbar before bouncing off the ground and back into the roof of the net.

Memorable moments
Canada’s extra time heroines: There was much talk when the FIFA U-20 World Cup returned to Canada of the tournament coming full circle. It certainly brought back memories of the dramatic conclusion to that inaugural 2002 edition, when a tense, dramatic final was settled by a single, decisive goal deep into extra time. However, in the years since, there had not been a single final of any FIFA women’s competition decided in the same way. Who could have imagined, therefore, that Canada – 12 years on – would produce another extra-time heroine, with Lena Petermann on this occasion taking on the role occupied by USA’s Lindsay Tarpley in 2002?

The joy of three: This was Germany’s third U-20 Women’s World Cup final in succession, and it ended with them equalling USA’s tournament record of three crowns. But this is not the only reason why, for Germans, three is most definitely a magic number. This, after all, was the third trophy to end up in their hands over the past couple of months, following on from the nation’s successes in the UEFA European U-19 Championship and, of course, the FIFA World Cup™.

A burden shared: Although attacking midfielder Lavogez emerged as one of the tournament’s undisputed stars, France’s goalscoring success at Canada 2014 was very much a collective effort. Indeed, when Aissatou Tounkara lobbed home their winner in the 3-2 victory over Korea DPR, she became the ninth different Bleuettes star to find the net since the competition began. Only Nigeria and the North Koreans – with six different scorers – came anywhere close, and the tally left Eyquem’s side just one short of the tournament’s all-time record. That was set in 2006, ironically by Korea DPR, who stormed to the title in Russia with ten different players getting on the scoresheet along the way.

Bremer the battler: Having run herself into the ground over 98 draining minutes on the massive Olympic Stadium pitch, Pauline Bremer would have been forgiven for not chasing Gladys Obasi into the corner as the left-back prepared to boot the ball clear. But the Germany striker refused to consider the path of conserving energy. That decision to pursue a seemingly lost cause paid off handsomely, with Bremer robbing Obasi of possession, driving to the byline and teeing up Petermann for her title-winning goal.

The stat
0 – There were no red cards shown over the entirety of Canada 2014, establishing this as the first-ever FIFA women’s tournament – senior, U-20 or U-17 – to end without a single dismissal. Previously, there had never been fewer than two red cards shown at a U-20 Women’s World Cup, and the last edition alone yielded four.

The words
“I will tell my girls to take this defeat hard. We had a great opportunity to win a World Cup with the chances we had in the first half, but we threw that chance away,” Peter Dedevbo, Nigeria coach.

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