FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2008
Street footie shines in Santiago
Set beneath the clear blue skies of Santiago and amid the welcoming
shade of the city´s Parque Forrestal, the Festival Sudamericano
Football for Hope Chile 2008 couldn´t have hoped for a more fitting
location for its final day of street football action. And it goes
without saying that the football, and more importantly the spirit of
fair play and friendship, lived up to the high standards set earlier in
Following Friday´s exciting second group
stage matches in the neighbourhood of Cerro Navia, an area of Santiago
where violent crime is sadly a daily occurrence and where local
organisation CHIGOL uses football to try to provide an alternative to
the area´s young people, the stage was set for the knockout rounds of
the street football tournament.
Delegations representing countries from across the whole of the South
American continent and specially invited guests from South Africa
battled it out between the boards of the specially constructed
five-a-side pitch before sitting down to discuss how well each team
respected their team mates and the opposition as well as the rules
decided upon at the start of the match. Victory on the pitch was worth
three points, but with a total of six other points up for grabs for
respect and solidarity, the game could easily be won pitch-side.
FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke paid
the Festival an unexpected visit for the semi-final stage of the
tournament, adding a little more excitement to the already buzzing
stadium. The first match saw Eprocad of Brazil sneak through against
the mixed Ecuadorian delegation of A Ganar and Ser Paz, while the
second match between local team Edugol and the Liga Argentina de Fútbol
Callejero (Argentinean Street Football League) was a hard fought match
between old rivals Chile and Argentina.
In a true example of the Festival´s friendship and solidarity, the
finalists played wearing their opposite number´s shirt - the Brazilians
in the green of Edugol, the Chileans in the navy blue of Eprocad. The
final could hardly have been scripted better, either - a perfect
combination of silky football skills, teamwork, friendship, fun and a
penalty shootout. Despite the home crowd support for Edugol, it was the
Brazilians who inched through by one goal, although watching the two
teams celebrate arm in arm in the middle of the pitch, and quickly
joined by all the festival participants, it was difficult to tell who
the champion was.
Everyone was winner at the first ever Football for Hope Festival - the start of things to come
Young stars shine at Chile 2008
The FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Chile 2008 will be remembered for
various reasons: it yielded more goals than any of the three previous
editions of the competition, it produced the 300th and 400th goals in
the tournament's history and it also saw USA win the trophy for the
second time. But, above all, it will be remembered for the legacy it
has left the host nation.
The Chilean government gave its wholehearted backing to the event,
rebuilding four stadiums to stage the matches. Furthermore, the Chilean
FA (ANFP) underlined its commitment to women's football before the
tournament even started by supporting the creation of an exciting new
league championship and assisting the women's U-20 national team with
its preparations for the big occasion.
And although the Rojitas failed
to win any of their three games and fell at the first hurdle, they
delighted the local fans with their courageous performances, which bode
well for the future. Likewise, the response of the fans throughout the
tournament showed that women's football has its place in South American
society, which has traditionally been far more supportive of the men's
Aside from this cultural advance, Chile 2008 also saw the United States
regain the trophy they first won at the inaugural competition at Canada
2002. Coach Tony DiCicco, who guided the Stars and Stripes to glory at
the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999, worked his magic once more with a
new generation of exciting talents spearheaded by strike duo Sydney
Leroux and Alex Morgan and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Between them
Leroux and Naeher also accounted for the three main individual awards.
The Americans sealed their return to the top in style, seeing off
reigning champions Korea DPR in the final, who bounced back from defeat
to Brazil in their opening game to mount a strong defence of the title
they won at Russia 2006. Refusing to panic after seeing his side go
down to the South Americans, coach Choe Kwang Sok was confident his
side would shake the jetlag out of their system and regain the solidity
that has made them so feared. Their subsequent progress proved him
right and only the superior finishing of the US strikers prevented his
charges from retaining the cup.
Time to reflect
Despite making a winning start against the Koreans and sauntering into
the last eight, the Brazilians failed to reach the semi-finals for the
first time. Blessed with a wealth of gifted individuals, the Canarinha
nevertheless showed a lack of tactical nous in their quarter-final
against Germany, falling to a disappointing defeat that showed they
still have much to do to compensate for the departures of Marta and
Their Latin American colleagues all have room for improvement as well.
Chile, Mexico and Argentina failed to progress beyond the first round
and will have to wait another two years at least before they can make
the big breakthrough.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the tournament, however, was the
elimination of China PR in the group phase. Runners-up in 2006 and
2004, the vaunted Chinese kicked off with an underwhelming draw against
Argentina before losing to France, with victory against USA's
second-string coming too late to save them. Although their coach said
they had travelled to Chile to learn, much more was expected of them.
One side who can be content with their showing are France, who finished
fourth after reaching the semis for the first time ever. And it could
have been so much better for the Bleuettes,
who will no doubt be ruing a late and costly lapse in concentration in
their semi-final meeting with Korea DPR. Even so, with Eugenie Le
Sommer's intelligent play, Nora Coton Pelagie's goalscoring instincts
and the strength of Marie-Laure Delie, the French have the potential to
achieve great things in the future.
Japan are another side with grounds for optimism. The Young Nadeshiko's
attractive passing game drew warm applause wherever they went, with
midfielder Natsuko Hara the pick of a talented crop. What the Asians
now need to work on is their mental game.
New Zealand also deserve an honourable mention. The Antipodeans are
improving with every tournament and were only denied a place in the
knockout rounds when England grabbed an injury-time equaliser in their
final group game. With no fewer than nine U-17 players in their squad,
however, the Young Football Ferns have their sights firmly set on
Thanks Chile, it was great. Bis bald in Deutschland!
Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany,
China PR, Congo DR, Norway, Japan, Korea DPR, New Zealand, Nigeria and
Stadiums and venues
Estadio Municipal de La Florida (Santiago), Estadio German Becker
(Temuco), Estadio Francisco Sanchez Rumoroso (Coquimbo), Estadio Nelson
2. Korea DPR
Sydney Leroux (USA), Erika (BRA), Alex Morgan (USA), Natsuko Hara
(JPN), Rita Chikwelu (NGA) Alyssa Naeher (USA), Nicole Banecki (GER),
Eugenie Le Sommer (FRA), Tony Duggan (ENG), Rosie White (NZL), Ra Un
Sim (PRK), Ri Jong Si (PRK), Kim Kulig (GER).
Fair Play award: USA
Total goals: 113
5: Sydney Leroux (USA)
4: Ri Ye Gyong (PRK), Alex Morgan (USA), Eugenie Le Sommer (FRA)
Total attendance: 351.309
Triumphant trio's title toast
Basking in the afterglow of their triumph at the Estadio Municipal de
la Florida late on Sunday evening, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan and
Alyssa Naeher all sported broad smiles as they savoured the sweet taste
of trophy success. There were even a few tears of joy for the three
stalwarts of the US line-up, a fully understandable reaction to winning
the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2008 in Chile.
The post-match awards underscored the weighty contribution made by the
top trio to their country’s first success at this event in six years.
Naeher claimed the Golden Gloves as best keeper, Leroux took the Golden
Ball as Best Player and the Golden Shoe for the leading scorer, while
Morgan came away with the Silver Ball and the Bronze Shoe. FIFA.com seized the opportunity to quiz the three starlets immediately following the awards ceremony.
"We’ve grown together as a family over the last two years," Naeher
replied when asked about the Americans' recipe for success. The
20-year-old received a nod of agreement from Leroux, two years her
junior, who finished top of the scoring charts after netting her fifth
goal of the event in the 2-1 victory over title holders Korea: "My
family here in Chile has been made up of 19 girls. I’m obviously
talking about my team-mates, and their support has been unbelievable."
Morgan, who has emerged as the Chileans' undisputed crowd favourite
over the last three weeks, was still struggling to put her feelings
into words an hour after the final whistle. "What’s happened today has
brought out the most intense emotions I’ve ever felt."
I’ve never felt anything like this in my life before. We all just wept for joy afterwards.
Sydney Leroux on the aftermath of USA's victory.
Relief was part and parcel of the experience, the California native
admitted: "I always feel a certain amount of pressure in football,
which comes down to the high standards I set myself." She is clearly
extremely adept at dealing with her own demands, as shown by her goal
of the tournament contender to make the score 2-0. Morgan weaved her
way past no fewer than three Korean defenders before finishing smartly
with her left foot into the bottom corner of the net.
Her strike partner, who struck the opener and finished the tournament
one goal ahead of Morgan, was equally euphoric: "I’ve never felt
anything like this in my life before. We all just wept for joy
afterwards. We’ve been through a few things together as a team over the
last eleven months. It’s been a long journey, but at the end of the
day, it’s finished with each of us wearing a gold medal. I think the
key to our success was going into the final with huge self-belief. We
knew we’d have to score goals to win, and we’ve gone out and done just
However, unity and team play were the true defining characteristics of
the USA's winning showing in Chile. Naeher kept a clean sheet
throughout the tournament right until stoppage time in the final, when
Cha Hu Nam netted what turned out to be a consolation effort for the
Asians. "But it’s not so bad, as my only goal was for us to win the
trophy. We’ve succeeded, and I want to say that my award as best keeper
is also an award for the entire defensive line which I had in front of
me." Indeed, Naeher and her goalscoring team-mates agreed that the
collective sense of joy easily outweighed any individual emotions.
"This triumph is the best feeling in the world," the keeper declared.
Interested spectator Pia Sundhage, the US senior women’s head coach,
will have been thrilled to witness the star trio’s shared sense of
purpose and camaraderie. It is a fair bet that Leroux, Morgan and
Naeher are destined for plenty more time spent in each other's company,
very probably revelling in further moments of triumph.
Clean sweep for USA in Chile
Six years on from their triumph at Canada 2002, USA defeated the
reigning champions to take the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup crown, as
well as the lion's share of individual and team accolades.
The North Americans downed Korea DPR 2-1 in the final at Chile 2008, an
event where more goals have been scored than at any previous edition.
The distinction of finishing third went to Germany, who defeated France
in a pulsating encounter.
FIFA.com brings you a summary of the final day's action from Chile 2008.
Korea DPR 1-2 USA
Goals: Sydney Leroux 23, Alex Morgan 42 (USA); Cha Hu Nam 90+2 (Korea DPR).
The defending champions set out resolutely to hold onto their throne,
to such an extent that the Americans were pinned back for the opening
quarter of an hour. However, the deadly duo of Alex Morgan and Sydney
Leroux both found the net to justify their individual awards and pave
the way towards a gold-medal success for the Stars and Stripes.
Trailing by two goals, the Koreans proceeded to dictate the tempo and
pile on the pressure in the second half, only for their attacks to
founder against the steely USA backline. Alyssa Naeher, subsequently
voted the tournament's best keeper, suffered a blot on her copybook
when conceding her only goal of the competition in the dying moments of
the game, though it was a case of too little too late for the Russia
The match for third place
France 3-5 Germany
Goals: Marine Pervier 45+1, 75 and Marie-Laure Delie 90+2 (France);
Marie Pollmann 10, 29 and 30, Julia Simic 67, Lisa Schwab 80 (Germany)
The match for third place turned out to be a veritable feast of
attacking football. Once the dust had settled, Germany emerged
victorious against a French team who overcame their clear
disappointment at a last-gasp semi-final elimination to contribute
fully to Chile 2008's highest-scoring match.
Germany's Marie Pollmann had cause for a double celebration after
firing a first-half hat-trick. It was the only triple of the
competition and a perfect response to heavy criticism received after
the group defeat against Japan. Though unable to find the net herself,
Nicole Banecki was a genuine livewire throughout in attack for the Mannschaft, and was directly involved in four of her side's five goals.
Les Bleuettes lacked the bite shown in their semi-final
reverse against Korea DPR but played a full part in a highly enjoyable
encounter. Meanwhile, star striker Marie-Laure Delie was able to cap
her return from injury with a goal, a fitting end to a fine tournament
from the French No9.
Player of the day
Nicole Banecki's once again underlined her status as perhaps Germany's
most influential performer here at Chile 2008. Gifted in possession,
never shy of letting fire at goal and a tireless worker, Banecki made
an invaluable contribution to the Mannschaft's
attacking prowess. She was particularly outstanding in the Germans'
final match, given her involvement in four of her team's five goals. "I
missed a lot of goalscoring chances," said the modest front-runner.
"But overall I'm satisfied with how I performed at this tournament."
What they said
"First of all I want to congratulate the North Korean players for the
huge effort they put in. They put us under pressure and it was very
hard for us to keep hold of our lead. But I'm very proud of the work my
girls have put in," Tony DiCicco, United States coach.
Adidas Golden Ball: Sydney Leroux (USA)
Adidas Silver Ball: Alex Morgan (USA)
Adidas Bronze Ball: Eugenie Le Sommer (FRA)
Adidas Golden Shoe: Sydney Leroux (USA)
Adidas Silver Shoe: Ri Ye Gyong (PRK)
Adidas Bronze Shoe: Alex Morgan (USA)
Adidas Golden Glove: Alyssha Naeher (USA)
FIFA Fair Play Award: United States
Morgan and Leroux, blazing a trail
FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Chile 2008 has proved to be a wonderful
opportunity to see the future stars of the global game in action. The
spread of gold, silver and bronze medals awarded has largely reflected
the outstanding performers from this competition, players have received
well-deserved additional credit in the form of the tournament's
FIFA.com brings you news of those gifted youngsters who are sure to cause a stir on the world scene in years to come.
Adidas Golden Ball, Silver Ball and Bronze Ball
Adidas Golden Ball: Sydney Leroux (USA), (25 per cent of the votes)
Adidas Silver Ball: Alex Morgan (USA), (23 per cent of the votes)
Adidas Bronze Ball: Eugenie Le Sommer (FRA), (19 per cent of the votes)
Sydney Leroux: Leroux started the competition warming
the bench but has finished Chile 2008 with two top individual awards as
well as a winners' medal around her neck. The striker fired five goals
during the course of the competition as well as forcing Bianca
Schmidt's decisive own goal in the semi-finals. Her contribution to the
United States' cause was always decisive, not just through the goals
she scored herself, but also via her never-ending commitment and
fighting spirit when leading the line. She also created two goals for
her team-mates, and never hesitated to drop into midfield when
Alex Morgan: The American striker's good looks and eye
for goal quickly marked her out as a favourite of the Chilean fans and
media alike. The fleet-footed Californian posed a threat across the
front line, and was able to cause havoc with penetrating runs down
either flank. Scorer of four goals overall, the UC Berkeley
sharpshooter impressed onlookers with her elegant and dynamic displays,
combined with a nose for a goalscoring opportunity. "We always try and
bring the best each of us has to offer to the team. So my goal in the
final is merely the fruit of excellent teamwork. I'm very happy," said
Morgan after the final whistle.
Eugenie Le Sommer: Les Bleuettes' No10 was
the driving force behind the French campaign, whether it be in an
emergency forward role or playing in a more withdrawn position. Over
and above her four-goal tally, Le Sommer's movement, eye for a pass and
crisp shooting ability mark her out as a player to watch. "I'm pleased
to have scored four goals but I couldn't have done it without my
team-mates' help. It's an honour that people notice my contribution to
the team but I would have liked to do better - it's a bit disappointing
to have lost the match for third place," said Le Sommer. "I hope to
keep moving forward and improve in the future."
Adidas Golden Shoe, Silver Shoe and Bronze Shoe
Adidas Golden Shoe: Sydney Leroux (USA) - 5 goals
Adidas Silver Shoe: Ri Ye Gyong (PRK) - 4 goals
Adidas Bronze Shoe: Alex Morgan (USA) - 4 goals
Ri Ye Gyong: She scored her team's first goal at Chile
2008 and ended up providing the assist for beaten finalists Korea DPR's
consolation effort in the decider against the United States. The gifted
wide midfielder with an eye for goal also found the net against Mexico,
Norway and France, and used her ability to spread the play to good
effect. The Amrokgang starlet proved an incisive and dangerous
performer at Chile 2008, as well as setting up two goals for her
team-mates. "I'm pleased with the [individual] award but I regret that
I was unable to win the tournament to go with it," she said after the
final whistle in Santiago.
Adidas Golden Glove
The displays of United States' keeper Alyssa Naeher steadfastly
underlined her claim as the tournament's finest custodian. In her five
matches played, Naeher only conceded once, and that came in the dying
moments of the final. The agile shot-stopper has the instinct and
reflexes required of a quality goalkeeper as well as the strength of
character to keep her defence on their toes and the authority to deal
with aerial balls. "This prize was earned by our entire defensive line,
and was the fruit of a great team effort," said Naeher.
FIFA Fair Play award
Not only did the United States win the competition, their elegance and
good nature on the field were also recognised with the award of the
FIFA Fair Play prize. Courteous with each and every opponent and
nothing but friendly with every fan who approached them, the Americans
will also take the Fair Play trophy home with them.
As part of their campaign to promote Fair Play, FIFA awards this prize
based on an evaluation by members of the FIFA Technical Study Group
(TSG), which considers the players' behaviour on and off the pitch. The
overall aim is to increase the level of good sportsmanship displayed by
players, coaching staff and spectators over the course of each
competition. Each and every player will be handed their own medal and
diploma, while both federations will receive a cash prize to spend on
adidas products that will help the youth development of the federation
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