The final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 is a repeat of the 2010 showpiece between the then hosts Germany and Nigeria. That game went the way of the European side, an outcome the in-form Africans will be aiming to avenge this weekend.
This is the fourth time the ultra-consistent Germans have reached the final of the competition and the third in a row, though the Super Falconets can also lay claim to being a powerhouse in this age group, having checked into their second final in the last three tournaments. Given those impressive records, Sunday’s showdown will reveal much about the balance of power in the women’s youth game.
In the play-off for third place, meanwhile, France face 2006 winners Korea DPR. The North Koreans knocked out reigning champions USA in the quarter-finals only to slump to a heavy defeat at the hands of the Nigerians, while the French, who have found goals harder and harder to come by, were undone by some wayward finishing in their semi-final against Germany.
FIFA.com previews the last two games at Canada 2014.
The Final: Nigeria-Germany, Montreal, 24 August 2014, 19:00 (local time)
Nigeria’s 6-2 defeat of Korea DPR was the biggest win ever seen in the semi-finals of the competition and saw their attacking spearhead Asisat Oshoala become only the third player to score four goals in a match in the history of the competition. The rampant Nigerians have made a habit of scoring early and then overwhelming their rivals with their strength and speed, a winning formula they will be out to repeat against the Germans.
Maren Meinert’s side are a formidable unit, however, and have barely put a foot wrong at Canada 2014. Making the most of their opportunities in front of goal, they saw off a strong France side in the last four and now have their sights set on repeating their 2010 final win on home soil, one that saw the Germans lift the U-20 Women’s World Cup trophy for a second time. To achieve that, they will almost certainly need Meike Kamper to maintain her fine form and blunt the threat posed by the lethal Oshoala.
Play-off for third place: Korea DPR-France, Montreal, 24 August 2014, 16:00 (local time)
Buoyed by their victorious campaigns at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan 2012 and the UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship Wales 2013, France arrived in Canada full of confidence. But despite turning on the style and creating more chances than their opponents in most of their games, Les Bleuettes became increasingly goal-shy, paying the price for their erratic finishing against the Germans.
Russia 2006 champions Korea DPR will be looking to striker Ri Un-Sim to fire them to third place. Her duel with France centre-half and captain Griedge M’Bock Bathy, herself a potent goal threat, could prove decisive.
Player to watch
Asisat Oshoala is the leading scorer at Canada 2014 with seven goals, four of them having come in the semi-finals. No African player has ever scored more in the history of the tournament, with the player they call Superzee having now moved past compatriots Desire Oparanozie, Ebere Orji and Cynthia Uwak, each of whom scored five goals in their previous appearances in the competition. It goes without saying that the Germans will be keeping a close eye on the free-scoring Falconet.
10 – Germany have found the back of the net in the last ten minutes in four of their five games at Canada 2014 so far.
“Whenever you score early it always gives you confidence and knocks the opposition off balance. We’re in the final now and we’re not scared of anyone. If you want to win big things, you need to keep your wits about you on the pitch and have a player who can make the difference,” Nigeria coach Peter Dedevbo.