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2010 U20 World Cup


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Action begins today:

Germany 4 - 2 Costa Rica (F)

North Korea 1 - 0 Brazil (F)

France 1 - 1 Colombia (F)

Sweden 2 - 1 New Zealand (F)


Costa Rica who removed Canada from the mix put in a solid scoreline against the German monster playing at home as hosts. Katherine Alvarado who aired in the long ball that took out Canada scores one of the Tico goals on a PK. Shots were 26-7 for the Germans but just 11-6 on net. Five Costa Rican yellows to the one German but the Germans take a red for a professional foul. Alexandra Popp scores two for Germany who have 2008's U17 goal machine Dzsenifer Marozsan on the bench the entire game.

Germany/Costa Rica highlights

Brazil not only lost to the North Koreans but they were outshot 20-12 (8-3 on goal) and possession was virtually equal. No cautions to either team. The North Koreans have been in the final of the last two U20's and have set an early word they are back.

Brazil / North Korea highlights

New Zealand are up at halftime on Sweden off a 33' Hannah Wilkinson goal, but Antonia Goransson replies for Sweden in the 56th and 67th minutes before oddly being subbed out on 75' without a chance to complete the hat trick. The Swedes hold for the win. Canadian Carol Anne Chenard runs the middle.

Lady Andrade (yes that's her real name) pops one in the 86th minute to give Colombia a draw with France who had led 1-0 from the 16th minute.

The generic link to catch up on the video action at any time is:

FIFA U20 World Cup Video

Tomorrow sees the other 8 teams in action:

England v. Nigeria

Mexico v. Japan

USA v. Ghana

Switzerland v. South Korea



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England 1 -1 Nigeria

Nigeria outshoots England 13-3 (9-2 on goal) but walks away with just a point in a physical match that saw the Africans blitz the English across the pitch.

USA 1 - Ghana 1

Sydney Leroux pulled the Americans equal on a 70th minute goal after Ghana went to an eearly 1-0 lead on 7 minutes. The USA had trouble finding the net like the Germans Tuesday with 25 shots but jsut 7 on goal, one less than the 8 Ghana struck on net off 15 shots. Both teams missed quality efforts to put the game away late. First opening game loss for the Americans in a U20 tournament.

In front of the ball?

Mexico 3 - 3 Japan

Mexico stuns Japan and pulls out to a 3-1 halftime lead only to see an own-goal punish them followed by a Mana Iwabuchi goal in the 88th minute to leave them with just a point. Japan had the edge in shots, shots and net and corners but had to press for the tie. Mexico had lost 8 of 9 previous U20 World Cup games.

South Korea 4 - 0 Switzerland


The South Koreans gave a rock solid shot across the bow to anyone who doubted their Asian championship. They not only neutralized the supremely talented mini-powderkeg Ramona Bachmann and drove her to a yellow, but they levelled almost 30 shots at the Swiss, half on net, took 10 corners and held 60% possession. The diminutive Ji So-Yun (above) took a massive step to the golden boot with a hat trick, another off the woodwork and a number of other near misses.

As usual, video of all the games is available at the link below. The Japanese/Mexican game has the best action:

FIFA U20 Video Highlights

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Unfortunately the games are only available over the internet in the USA, meaning Canadians are left with the play-by-play ticker. Somehow I think the first four minutes of action in each game below isn't quite the same as watching it live.


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In front of 15,000 fans the host Germans take a 3-0 lead on the Colombians in the first hour and hold for a 3-1 win despite level statistics and even an edge to Colombia in possession. Carol Anne Chenard is the referee. Alexandra Popp scores again to tie for the golden boot lead with three. The Colombian coach commented the Germans controlled the match especially in the air. The Germans have now delivered two very comfortable wins.


Marina Makanza subs in on the hour for France and bags two goals to supply all the countries goals and put her mark into the four way lead for the golden boot with three (alongside Popp, Antonia Goransson of Sweden and Ji So Yun of South Korea who has played just the one game). Costa Rica had a slight edge in shots but couldn't convert or hold Makanza back and are now mathematically eliminated. If Colombia beats Costa Rica next and Germany beats France it will come down to goal differential to see who goes through. France is at +2 and Colombia -2 but that will swing quite a bit based on their opponents. If France can grab a point off Germany they are through directly.

Off Antonia Goransson's goal Sweden and Brazil draw 1-1 despite a 2:1 Brazilian advantage in all statistics, meaning if the Swedes can grab a point off North Korea next it eliminates Brazil. Like Makanza of France, Goransson has all her country's goals. If the Swedes lose and the Brazilians win it comes down to goal difference and with the Swedes at +1 and Brazil at -1 it would mean the Swedes go home if they lose by a pair or Brazil trumps the Kiwis by a pair.

In the final game of the day North Korea beat the New Zealand Young Football Ferns eliminating them from the tournament. North Korea outshot the Kiwis 2:1 and gave up their shutout and comfort late in the 90th minute.

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Germany 4 -1 France

Colombia 3 - 0 Costa Rica

Brazil 4 - 1 New Zealand

Sweden 3 - 2 North Korea

The story of the day is a brave effort from the Swedes who faced elimination but end up winning their group and eliminating the Brazilians. For their industry and courage they avoid the Germans and now have Colombia in the quarters. The Colombians throw 20 shots at the Ticos and cruise 3-0 to send the Costa Ricans home winless having given up 9 goals in three games (this is the team Morace's U20's could not score a goal on). Germany sends the French home with their third decisive win with 11 goals now in three games. North Korea had already qualified before their Sweden game kicked off today and now faces the specter of the Fatherland looming heavy in Bochum Saturday. Rosie White scores for the Kiwis who had strong 1-2 games against both the Swedes and North Koreans but they go home winless as well at the hands of 1-4 loss to the Brazilians. They did hold them 1-2 until the 87th minute so three respectable games from the Oceanians.

Group A and B are now decided, Group C and D tomorrow.

The Golden Boot is still very much in play, Alexandra Popp had a hat trick today to get to six and move above Ji So Yun's five (who has a game in hand). Sydney Leroux and Antonia Goransson have four with Leroux having a game in hand also.

Goransson seems to be the quality player the Swedes are looking to play with Schelin as Ljungberg retires and the grand dame Svensson pushes to her twilight years:

"However, with two minutes of the half remaining, Sweden grabbed a timely lifeline, with Sofia Jakobsson rounding off a slick counter-attack by converting Antonia Goransson’s incisive through ball. Reinvigorated, the Swedes pressed forward after the break and were rewarded inside seven minutes when Goransson scored a wonder goal, embarking on a mazy run beyond four defenders before shooting home. Goransson, already on four goals for the tournament, might have made it five soon after when she hit the crossbar."

Games tomorrow:

Japan v. England

Nigeria v. Mexico

South Korea v. USA

Ghana v. Switzerland

South Korea/USA is the marquis matchup with England and Japan fighting for their lives. If the Mexicans and Nigerians sit back and play for the draw the English and Japanese go home. The Ghanians will have to score 6-7 on the Swiss and hope the Americans lose to the South Koreans to steal their spot.

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Morning results:

Mexico 1 - 1 Nigeria

Japan 3 - 1 England


- Germany

- North Korea

- Sweden

- Nigeria

- Mexico

- Colombia

- South Korea


- Brazil

- Japan

- England

- France

- Costa Rica

- New Zealand

- Switzerland

The final two group games this afternoon will determine the fate of the USA and Ghana and who Mexico and Nigeria meet in the quarter-finals.

To see Nigeria, Mexico and Colombia supplant the Brazilians, Japanese, English and French is not only astounding it's great for the global growth of the game.

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And the USA are through with a win over Korea. I'm going to see USA-NGA on Sunday, so in honour of our friend Syndey, do I:

-Bring a Canadian flag

-Bring a sign calling her out as a traitor

-Bring a sign/flag in support of the USA (I'll be in the company of Americans)

-Bring nothing

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Man, you are one lucky guy!

Leroux goes to 5 goals and stands a great chance at another golden boot. She got a perfectly placed and weighted through ball from one of the Mewis sisters today and used her pace to put the Americans through. In their 5-0 win over Switzerland she had a double dose of walking around a bit of a soft keeper but there were two world class strikes in that game from Leroux and Mewis. You can see them in the first 25 seconds of the video below:

USA v. Switzerland

I read a great comment by Tony Waiters a few days ago which deserves repeating:

Q. What do you say to the critics who label Canadian players who have fled to European teams -- such as Daniel Fernandes -- as traitors?

A. Daniel left because he has little or no chance of developing into a professional soccer player here. Why would he not leave? If he has got ambition, which he obviously has, why hang about here? Because the Canadian program is not good enough, what is his chance of going to the World Cup? Slim to none. People who say they have deserted their country should go and try it. Try going to another country where there is a little bit of resentment toward a foreigner coming in. To get yourself established as a player, to leave home at a young age, that takes a hell of a lot of doing. Most can't hack it. Fernandes is not a traitor ... I would say he is a hero, not a traitor.

Wise words.


I don't think Sydney Leroux is a hero or a traitor. She's just Sydney Leroux, a wonderfully talented player full of the same dreams, human foibles and greatness as everyone else. We all just watched the World Cup in South Africa and cheered for all the great players in the world regardless of what flag they wore. If you are a dual citizen you are forced to make a decision about what your nationality is and as Waiters say's you may not agree but you have to respect. She is one of the brightest young stars in the game and is having the time of her life and is known for her game around the world. Couldn't be happier for her and hope she can deliver them another gold medal and follow up her 2008 U-20 golden boot as the icing on the cake.

Quarter-finals are set:

Saturday: Germany v. North Korea

Saturday: Sweden v. Colombia

Sunday: Mexico v. South Korea

Sunday: Nigeria v. USA

A week tomorrow the semi-finals will see the Germany/North Korea winner face the Mexico/South Korea winner while the Sweden/Colombia winner plays the USA/Nigeria winner.


There have been 79 goals in the tournament. Four players (Popp, Leroux, Yun and Goransson) have 25% of them.

Confederation quarter-final performance:


2/3 - AFC


1/2 - CAF

2/5 - UEFA

0/1 - OFC

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Couldn't agree with you more Vic. Players at Sydney LeRoux's level must make their playing decisions based on what is best for them and their careers. I take pleasure in watching expert practitioners of the game, no matter what team they play on.

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Germany 2 - 0 North Korea

Sweden 0 -2 Colombia


Mexico v. South Korea

USA v. Nigeria


Thursday, July 29:

Germany v. Mexico/South Korea

Colombia v. USA/Nigeria

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Leroux seals USA exit from U20 WWC with missed penalty

USA 1:1 a.e.t. (1:1, 1:0) 2:4 PSO (2:4) NIG

Any game with almost 60 shots and 30 on net split evenly between the teams is a pretty rare. The other interesting stats are the Nigerians out-fouled the Americans 26-5, and the USA out-cornered them 16-7.

I was mentioning the other day I believe the first African team to win a World Cup will be a women's youth team, and also earlier on that it's questionable whether the Nigerians and Ghanians respect age rules.

Unless Henninger stops the 5th shot, Leroux's is moot. Christine Nairn's earlier miss was the crippler. Unlike Leroux, Nairn has played for the full national team, and scored on our Canadian senior women last summer. I believe Nairn and Leroux are the Americans two most experienced players as well as co-captains. The nerves and pressure of youth?

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As I mentioned before, I was at the USA - NIG match this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but was somewhat distracted by my 2 and 6 year old boys, so I missed a few things.

For 5 euros a pop, we were sitting 5 rows up and the atmosphere was pretty good. About 30 Nigerians were in force playing drums/trumpets/wood blocks for the entire 120 mins (I think we'd all take this form of African cultural expression over vuvuzelas any day). The neutrals seemed to be for Nigeria while the Americans were scattered throughout the stadium.

The match was also pretty lively as both teams seemed to be interested in playing attacking soccer. A bit chippy with some suspect reffing (IMHO loyola ;)), but still good entertainment. It seemed to me that the Americans were more organized, but the Nigerian keeper was in top shot-stopping form (but managed to get away with piss poor handling). The American goal wasn't pretty (bouncing around the 6 yard box before somebody slotted it through), but it was a testament to their pressure. The Nigerian goal was a bullet from far out and a great individual effort.

During the shootout, the 2nd or 3rd goal Nigerian goal was retaken twice after the US keeper stopped it but was ruled to have left her line before the ball was kicked. I have to confess a little bit of schadenfreude when Leroux Baggio'd it over the crossbar, but TBH I was just cheering for a good match and I think I got it.

I think Leroux had a bit of an off game. Her teammates seemed much more effective.

The stadium is a nice facility and I will be hoping that Canada qualify and get a match in Augsburg next year at the WWC.

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Any idea why the Nigerian is going after the U.S. coach with the stick after the shootout (at about 8:57)?


The first Nigerian shot was poor and in the same place as the American shot that was stopped. The difference was Henninger was always more focused on getting out four yards off her line than making the save. Had she not been so comic and made such a mockery of things they probably would have given her the top-corner save when she was out the distance that is rarely called. You watch stuff like that and you're left wondering how a program that well-funded can prepare a player that poorly. Alas, money and good coaching are not always joined at the hip.

Ther German booing during the American shots was absolutely disgusting. A new low for German football.

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Any idea why the Nigerian is going after the U.S. coach with the stick after the shootout (at about 8:57)?

Yeah, I really don't know. A fan gave her a flag on that stick ... she went over to her bench, and somehow the flag came off. It seemed to me that she wasn't originally intending to use the stick as a weapon, but just happenend to be holding it when the altercation with the coach began. I had suspected that something was said, but again, I don't know.

Ther German booing during the American shots was absolutely disgusting. A new low for German football.

Weird, when I was there it almost seemed like they were doing a oooo -O (I can't really describe it, except to say it's like what you do at gridron football games at kickoff). Maybe it was booing I guess. I'm not sure.

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Never thought of that, just heard the oooooo-ing as the American was over the ball and presumed it had the "B" in front of it.

Would you say the 7,000 they reported was accurate?

The Americans were out-possessed by the Nigerians, the Swiss and the South Koreans. The only team they had more possession than was Ghana.

Two years ago both USA teams (U17/U20) were in the final and they went home with gold and silver. This represents the earliest the Americans have gone home in the tournament and the 17s never even made it to their tournament. Sure they were both PK eliminations but nonetheless a sour year for American women's youth soccer.

South Korea attacks with numbers and scores two in the first half hour before switching to a defensive posture and grabbing another on the counter in the second half to go up 3-0 and holding on to defeat Mexico 3-1 in the remaining quarter-final. Mexico had almost twice as many shots as the South Koreans but were wasteful and had half the shots on net as the AFC champions. It's also not often you see a Mexican team with just 45% possession.


Thursday, July 29:

Germany v. South Korea

Colombia v. Nigeria

Leroux and Sweden's Antonia Goransson are now out of the running for the Golden Boot with Alexandra Popp at 7 and South Korea's Ji So Yun with 6 the last two standing.

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I hope the Americans will take the lesson and review their program. It is no more sufficient to put people with great athletic abilities on the field to win games. Women soccer has gone up a higher level. Natural feeling of the game, anticipation, technical abilities take more and more importance. I agree with Vic that ball control is a good indicator of your level of play. Being out-possessed three times out of four, Americans deserved to loose.

This reminds me when I was playing broomball during winter at a provincial elite tournament when I was in my early twenties. We were a bunch of young fellows, top-shaped, and we had made it to semi finals against a team of elder men you could tell just looking at them they were not fit looking more like beer drinkers. Moreover they had only one replacement. We were thinking before the game how easy it would be to beat them. How wrong we were! Those fellows knew how to play the game and they showed us the best passing play I have ever seen. By the time the game was over, we were exhausted, having barely touched the ball and lost.

If USA is to regain its dominating situation on the world scene for wowen, they have to change their focus and recruit ladies on their programs with maybe lesser athletic but more soccer abilities. As a comparison, Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players of all-times, was not the biggest, hardest shooting and hitting, fastest player around. However, its sense of the game and an exceptionnal peripheric vision more than compensated his somewhat lesser athletic abilities.

Since we tend to copy our southern neighbours, I hope any american move towards more talented soccer will be followed by CSA and that our soccer will also evolve by the same token. That USA defeat is good news for north american soccer if it may lead us to new levels of play.

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