Monday 03 October 2016, 20:03

Hosts bow out as Castellanos steals the show

THE DAY REPLAYED – It is not often that two teams reach the knockout phase with a game to spare and still find themselves denied top billing.

That, though, was the fate assured for both Spain and Mexico as soon as Deyna Castellanos reacted to Cameroon's 93rd-minute equaliser by shooting straight from the re-start - and scoring. Having earlier scored a sublime free-kick, and with six goals and an adidas Golden Shoe already under her belt from Costa Rica 2014, the Venezuela striker also equalled the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup's all-time scoring record held by Korea Republic's Yeo Minji and Korea DPR's Ri Un-Sim.

But while Matchday 3 of Jordan 2016 will always be remembered for Castellanos, there was plenty happening elsewhere. Besides Spain and Mexico progressing to the last eight with a game to spare, the hosts, Cameroon and New Zealand all crashed out, while Germany and Canada fought out an engrossing draw.

Results*Group A *Spain 2-0 New Zealand Jordan 1-4 Mexico

Group B Venezuela 2-1 Cameroon Germany 1-1 Canada

Goal of the day*Venezuela 2-1 Cameroon, Deyna Castellanos 90+4 *Could there have been any other choice? Scoring a goal direct from centre is remarkable enough. Doing so in the 94th minute to secure a priceless World Cup victory is the stuff of football fairy tales. Add in the fact that Castellanos' amazing strike saw her equal the tournament's all-time scoring record and it becomes barely believable. Yet perhaps the most incredible aspect of this wonder goal is that Cameroon's goalkeeper, Carol Mimboe, was barely off her line. We can only be grateful that such considerations didn't dissuade Castellanos from attempting the audacious.

Memorable moments*Skipper spurs draw-dodging Spain *Every time Spain have qualified for a U-17 Women's World Cup, they have drawn New Zealand, beaten the Kiwis and qualified from their group. But for 80 minutes of today's Irbid encounter, that symmetry looked set to end as the dogged Junior Football Ferns kept the 2014 finalists at bay. That was until Spain's captain, Laia Aleixandri, led by example with a wonderful long-range goal to break the deadlock. The skipper's strike also maintained and extended Spain's record run of having never drawn a game at this tournament, a sequence that now stands at 14 games (11 wins, three defeats) and counting.

Jordan's history-making heroine On a day of glorious goals and momentous events, it was only right that the hosts got in on the act. Though their evening ended in disappointment, Jordanian fans could hardly have dreamed of a better, more spectacular way for their team to score their first-ever goal in a FIFA women's tournament. Sarah Abu-Sabbah was the player who wrote her name in the record books and she did so with a stupendous solo goal, capping a driving run with an unstoppable left-foot shot into the top corner. And while it did not lead to a victory for the hosts, the talented No10's wonderful strike will hopefully play its part in inspiring the thousands of Jordanian girls who have watched this tournament.

  • Starring while suspended *Though Castellanos grabbed the headlines for obvious reasons, the record-equalling striker wasn't the only Venezuelan who impressed in Amman. Having been suspended for the match after a red card against Germany, Sandra Luzardo might well have spent it sulking in the stands. Instead, the irrepressible, blue-haired defender was seen - and heard - shouting, screaming and singing at the top of her voice, dancing and generally putting on a one-woman show. All of it was done to encourage her team-mates, and those colleagues could be seen smiling, answering back and occasionally throwing in a few moves of their own. Naturally, Luzardo's antics also caught the attention of the cameras but, even when she saw herself caught on the big screens at half-time, Venezuela's No4 simply smiled and carried on dancing. The stat 10- The curse of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup hosts continues, with Jordan the fifth in as many editions to fall at the first hurdle. Worse still, it is now ten straight defeats for this tournament's most recent hosts - Jordan, Costa Rica, Azerbaijan and Trinidad and Tobago - dating back to 2010.

    The words "I'm disappointed with the draw. But I'm also very proud of my team because, I have to admit, this game is probably the best I've ever seen at this level." Germany coach Anouschka Berhard on her side's 1-1 draw with Canada

    *Next matchday Tuesday 4 October (all times local)*

    Group C Nigeria-England, 16.00 Brazil-Korea DPR, 19.00

    Group D USA-Ghana, 16.00 Paraguay-Japan, 19.00