3-1! Japan Beat Spain, Are FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Champions

by Samuel Abasi Posted on August 24th, 2018

Vannes, France : Japan defeated Spain 3-1 to win their first-ever FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup crown at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes on Friday evening. England claimed third place after defeating hosts France on penalties in Vannes on Friday afternoon.

This result at France 2018 keeps the trophy in Asia after Korea DPR won the title two years ago in Papua New Guinea.

The first half of the final was dominated in possession and chances by the European U-19 champions, but with the Japanese finding the scoresheet first.

When called upon, Hannah Stambaugh has made important saves for the Young Nadeshiko at this tournament. She was on hand again to deny Patri Guijarro in the early stages before brilliantly denying Maite Oroz finding the top corner, then Eva Navarro before the break.

Despite being on the back foot for most of the half, Japan stunned La Rojita by taking the lead against the run of play on 38 minutes. Having shown a desire to shoot from distance, as she did in hitting the crossbar against England in the semi-finals, Hinata Miyazawa found the target this time with her right foot, leaving the outstretched Catalina Coll with little chance to make the save.

Taking the lead inspired the East Asians to push forward, and only a fine point-blank save from Coll denied the Japanese a second goal before the break through Jun Endo.

When the chances have come for Futoshi Ikeda’s side, they have been highly efficient in taking them in the knockout stages of France 2018, and with a bit of quality as well. On 57 minutes, Saori Takarada doubled Japan’s lead with an assured finish after being released in on the Spain goal by a neat Riko Ueki flicked pass, with her back to goal.

Having claimed control of the contest, the Japanese looked more confident with their play. That best summed up their third goal on 65 minutes. Takarada turned supplier for Fuka Nagano on the right of the Spain box. Her superb first-time shot flew over Coll and into the net.

There was a reply from Pedro Lopez’s side, however. Candela Andujar pulled a goal back on 71 minutes for Spain before Stambaugh tipped Claudia Pina’s shot on to the crossbar two minutes later.

That was as far as the Spanish comeback efforts would reach, as Japan added to last year’s Asian U-19 title with a maiden world crown in this age category.

England claim third place on penalties

England needed penalties to defeat hosts France in Vannes on Friday afternoon and claim their best-ever finish at a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, as they won the Play-off for third place at France 2018 after a 1-1 draw at the end of the 90 minutes.

Chances were traded at both ends during a competitively played first half at the Stade de la Rabine, with Les Bleuettes creating two of the best opportunities to break the deadlock. Emelyne Laurent was unable to steer a fine cross from Sandy Baltimore goal-wards on 16 minutes, while Annahita Zamanian forced a big save from England goalkeeper Sandy MacIver after breaking in on goal just before the break.

Mo Marley’s side also served notice of their attacking threat in the opening 45 minutes, with Georgia Stanway forcing a couple of saves from France goalkeeper Justine Lerond, while Laura Hemp was unable to properly connect with an Alessia Russo cross in front of goal.

The second half brought goals, with England taking the lead right after the restart through a fine turn and finish from the edge of the France box by Stanway. It was the Manchester City player’s sixth goal of France 2018.

That prompted France coach Gilles Eyquem to bring on striker Amelie Delabre, and her presence made a difference midway through the second half, as she earned the hosts a penalty after being fouled in the England box by Megan Finnigan. Laurent stepped up to convert the spot-kick and draw France back on level terms.

Both teams kept pressing for a second goal, with the Young Lionesses nearly breaking through with Russo on 88 minutes, but Lerond was able to deny her at the far post.

With the scores deadlocked at full time, penalties were needed to decide third place, with England triumphing in the shoot-out 4-2. Late substitute Georgia Allen converted the winning spot-kick to cap a fine campaign in Brittany for Mo Marley’s side.

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Samuel Abasi

Samuel Abasi

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