Hiroshima/Kobe – Japan, August 20, 2012: THE DAY REPLAYED – While the first day’s action at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012 was notable for close-fought encounters and a solitary emphatic win, the second day of games could hardly have been more different. All four matches ended in comprehensive victories, with Canada helping themselves to six of the day’s 20-goal total in their thrashing of Argentina.
As the goals flew in from all angles, USA’s Maya Hayes and Canada’s Adriana Leon had most to celebrate by scoring hat-tricks – taking both to the top of the scorers’ charts at this early stage. FIFA.com sums up the highlights of a day on which there was also room for red cards, penalties and rather a lot of direct football, a style of play that proved particularly decisive in Korea DPR’s win over Norway.
Korea DPR 4-2 Norway
Argentina 0-6 Canada
Ghana 0-4 USA
Germany 4-0 China PR
Gol of the day
Canada-Argentina, Adriana Leon, 42’
During a first period when Canada totally overwhelmed La Albiceleste, the Canucks’ fourth goal of the game was an accurate reflection of just how dominant they were. After an impressive short-passing build-up from the back through midfield, Jaclyn Sawicki picked out Leon in space between two Argentinian defenders. Showing class aplenty, the attacker brought the ball under control, strode into the area and sent a fine shot across keeper Laurina Oliveros and into the top corner.
Penalties that changed games
Helping pave the way to Group C victories for both Korea DPR and Canada were first-half penalties, with each spot-kick having a weighty impact in how the games turned out. For the Asian outfit, Yun Hyon Hi’s penalty enabled them to retake the lead after the Norwegians had levelled the scores, while the incident leading to the Canucks’ seventh-minute opener was even more decisive. The penalty award led to a red card for Argentina defender Agustina Barroso – the second fastest sending off at a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup – and left La Albiceleste extremely vulnerable at the back throughout.
Direct tactics bear fruit
In the day’s first two games, United States and Korea DPR both opted for the aerial route on a host of occasions, with positive results. Stars and Stripes front-runner Hayes notched twice as a consequence of high balls into the box, while Yun Hyon Hi and Kim Un Hwa got on the end of inch-perfect crosses to head home two of the North Koreans’ four goals.
Hard lessons for new faces
Though there are a number of players at this FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup with previous experience of a FIFA finals, there are also those who are taking their first steps at this level. One of those is the competition’s youngest player, Argentina’s Erika Cabrera, who at the age of 15 years and 33 days came off the bench in the second half with her side already five goals down against Canada. Ghana, the squad with the joint lowest average age at this competition – 18 years and seven months – alongside Switzerland, will also have mixed feelings following their thrashing by United States and will need to toughen up fast to stay in the hunt for a place in the next round.
Olympic feel to Hiroshima
Even though there was no flame, the cauldron at the Hiroshima Big Arch stadium – which was constructed in 1992 and helped host the Asian Games in 1994 – gave Monday’s two games at the venue a hint of an Olympic feel. And the atmosphere appeared to buoy the young American players, who kicked off their bid to emulate the women’s senior side – gold medallists at London 2012 – with a 4-0 opening win.
Stat of the day
3 – Scorers of hat-tricks in the day’s games, the exploits of USA’s Maya Hayes and Canada’s Adriana Leon mean they became the third players from their respective countries to achieve the feat at a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
“We played our best, we worked very hard, but still, I think we haven’t reached our best level yet. Winning the group is not our goal here in Japan. We’re here to reach the final, and we won’t be satisfied after any game until we have reached this goal.” Korea DPR coach Sin Ui Gun
Wednesday 22 August (all times are local)
Mexico-Switzerland, Miyagi, 16.20
Japan-New Zealand, Miyagi, 19.20
Brazil-Nigeria, Saitama, 15.00
Italy-Korea Republic, Saitama, 18.00. —- FIFA/Image © Getty Images