SOCCER: East meets West to decide the Under-17 Women’s World Cup
North Korea 2 England 1 United States 2 Germany 1
A storming last hour from the United States deservedly earned them a 2-1 win over Germany to set up a classic East-West final against North Korea in Sunday’s final at Fifa’s Under-17 Women’s World Cup at North Harbour Stadium.
Second half goals from Vicki DiMartino and Courtney Verloo — with a little help from some hesitant goalkeeping and defensive play — got the Americans through against a German side who lost their way after a dominant start in the second semifinal at Christchurch’s QE II Park yester- day. The Germans applied the early pressure. From the second of two corners, Alexandra Popp headed home for 1-0.
Tabea Kemme should have quickly doubled their advantage when US goalkeeper Taylor Vancil muffed an attempted clearance but Kemme fired over the top of the gaping goal.
After 20 minutes the pendulum started to swing the other way with the US dominant and fully deserving of an equaliser which did not come until the 64th minute.
Led by the outstanding Crystal Dunn, the US were by far the stronger and those two goals — 17 minutes apart — got them home and into the final which looked unlikely when they lost one and drew one of their pool matches.
The Koreans had their moments in the early match but without being entirely convincing.
England, seeking to continue where they had left off after their storming finish against Japan in the quarter-finals, made much of the early play but their attacking raids were stymied by the ever-patient Korean defence. Danielle Carter was often left to go it alone up front but when England played with width, especially in using Lucy Staniforth’s pace, they were dangerous.
A little against the run of play, North Korea took the lead in the 19th minute. The English defence backed off to give the Koreans space along the goal-line from where the ball was played to Ho Un Bol who, from an acute angle at the near post, squeezed the ball into Lauren Davey’s goal.
England captain Jordan Nobbs almost caught out goalkeeper Hong Myong Hui in the 35th minute with a superb long range shot which Hong was at full stretch to tip over for a corner.
Two minutes before halftime, the hesitant English defence was again punished when Yun Hyon Hi played the ball sweetly to Jon Myong Haw who side-footed home her fourth goal of the tournament.
With 20 minutes to play, Lauren Bruton gathered a long ball from Davey and slipped it to Chelsea’s Rebecca Jane who fired home.
England and Germany play for bronze on Sunday.
GETTING CLOSE: North Korea team-mates celebrate their World Cup semifinal win over England in Christchurch yesterday. PICTURE