September 29, 2012
U.S. fails to reach U-17 WWC quarterfinals
BAKU, Azerbaijan - For a U.S. Women's National Team of any kind, it was a rare elimination in the group stage of a FIFA world championship.
The U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team drew with North Korea, 1-1, on Saturday, but was eliminated from the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The Americans finished the group stage unbeaten at 1-0-2 and five points, but did not advance out of Group B as the Koreans and France had superior goal different. The U.S. also allowed only one goal -- by the Koreans.
The top two finishers from each of the four groups advance to the quarterfinals. Korea, France and the U.S. tied their matches against each other, but North Korea and France move on to the quarterfinal stage as the deciding factor in the group ended up being who could score more goals against Gambia.
France on Saturday defeated Gambia, 10-2, and finished with an eight-goal difference. North Korea scored 11 goals against Gambia to win the group and the Americans had six goals vs. Gambia.
With just under 20 minutes left in both Group B matches that kicked off at the same time, the USA was locked in a 1-1 battle with North Korea while France led Gambia, 4-2. The French then reeled off six goals in 19 minutes to move past the U.S. on goal differential and into the second spot.
The Group B results marked the first time that three teams in one group finished with five points at a FIFA U-17 World Cup. North Korea reached its third consecutive U-17 quarterfinal after winning the event in 2008 and taking fourth place in 2010. France advanced to its first U-17 quarterfinal stage.
Darian Jenkins scored the Americans' lone goal early and goalkeeper Jane Campbell made seven saves against a Korean side that outshot the Americans, 22-10.
The match started with frenetic pace as both teams traded goals in the opening minutes. Jenkins scored in the second minute off an Amber Munerlyn cross from the right corner. Running toward the left post, Jenkins volleyed the looping ball with her left foot to the inside right netting for her first of the tournament.
The Koreans responded two minutes later as Ri Un Sim trapped a deep pass from Jon So Yon in the penalty area, turned and fired to the right side of the net for her fifth goal of the competition. The goal was the first and only score allowed by the U.S. in the tournament after shutting out France 0-0 and Gambia 6-0 in the first two group matches.
North Korea had a great look at goal in the 55th minute on a semi-breakaway when Choe Yun Gyong received the ball on the left with room to go toward goal. Instead of shooting, she cut to her right and Mandy Freeman recovered to block her shot.
In the 86th minute, the U.S. came close to scoring - and a goal that would have put the team through to the quarterfinals - when Morgan Andrews struck a free kick from about 35 yards that hit the crossbar near the upper left corner. The Americans could not get on the rebound and the Koreans did well to kill the rest of the game.