Friday 21 October 2016, 21:28

Korea DPR snatch the title on dramatic final day

THE DAY REPLAYED - Like all good things, the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 has come to an end, with the curtain coming down on the tournament on a gripping day that saw Korea DPR crowned world champions. The North Koreans beat Japan on penalties after a hard-fought and exciting final, the third time in the competition’s history that the deciding match has gone to a shootout.

After seeing their hopes of lifting the trophy vanish in the semi-finals, Spain ensured they left Jordan on a high by beating Venezuela in the match for third place. Aside from the podium line-up, the last day of Jordan 2016 also revealed the tournament’s individual awards winners, with Fuka Nagano taking pride of place as the recipient of the adidas Golden Ball. rounds up the final day of a competition that saw Asian teams continue their domination of the age group, with Korea DPR adding a second title to the one they claimed in 2008, which was followed by triumphs for Korea Republic in 2010 and Japan in 2014.

Results Venezuela 0-4 Spain Korea DPR 0-0 Japan (Korea DPR win 5-4 on penalties)

Goal of the day *Venezuela 0-1 Spain, Eva Navarro 17

*Spain’s opening goal was a perfect combination of technique and teamwork. The move began with Paula Fernandez making the most of her considerable skills to set Candela Andujar scampering away down the left and into the penalty box. Caught off balance, the Venezuela defence raced back to cover. But it was all in vain, with the winger having more than enough time to square the ball for the incoming Eva Navarro, who arrived right on cue at the far post to sidefoot the Spanish into the lead and on course for third place.

Memorable moments *Japan’s attack meets its match *The scoreboard refused to budge in an absorbing final between Korea DPR and Japan, who reproduced the same free-flowing football that had taken them to victory in their previous five matches at Jordan2016 but were unable to convert any of their 24 attempts on goal. The main reason for that was the consummate defending of the North Koreans, who timed their tackles to perfection and showcased their excellent decision-making to prevent the Japanese from breaking through. Sin Jong-Bok’s charges have defending down to a fine art, while Naoki Kusunose’s side are no less skilled when it comes to attacking, all of which made for an entertaining evening at the Amman International Stadium, despite the lack of goals. When they eventually came in the shootout, it was the Japanese who came off second best.

Kusunose stops short Not for the first time at Jordan 2016, Kusunose changed his starting line-up, with Saori Takarada, Hinata Miyazawa and Riko Ueki all coming into the side after having begun the semi-final on the bench. As he told a few days ago, the Japan coach had also planned to hand midfielder Mayu Karahashi a tournament debut: “She hasn’t started a game yet and, ideally, I’d like to give her this opportunity.” Unfortunately for her, that opportunity never came. Neither did the consolation of a winner’s medal.

A nice touch After opening the scoring for Spain, Navarro spared a thought for her stricken colleague Maria Blanco, who is back home after having picked up a tournament-ending injury against Mexico. Navarro celebrated with her provider Andujar and the rest of her team-mates before holding up a No 17 shirt in honour of Blanco, whom she replaced in the Spain line-up.

Lorena goes out with a bang Lorena Navarro had a memorable start to the tournament, helping herself to five goals in Spain’s opener against hosts Jordan and getting herself noticed in the process, perhaps a little bit too much. Attracting close attention from New Zealand and Mexico’s defenders, she failed to find the net against either of them, and promptly found herself out of the side when the knockout phase began. Finally making her return at the start of the second half of the match for third place, she took only eight minutes to get back to goalscoring ways. Her seventh and eighth goals of the competition duly followed, securing her the adidas Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer.

The stat 2 - Navarro is the second player in the history of the competition to score two hat-tricks in the same tournament. Germany’s Kyra Malinovski was the first, finding the back of the net three times against Mexico and four against South Africa in 2010. Navarro matched that achievement by scoring five against Jordan and three against Venezuela, a game in which she also earned the distinction of becoming the first substitute to score a hat-trick in a U-17 Women’s World Cup match. With her eight goals, the Spain forward equalled the tournament record held by Korea Republic’s Yeo Minji and Korea DPR’s Ri Un-Sim, who racked up the same tally in the 2010 and 2012 tournaments respectively.

The words “The result is always the coach's responsibility. The player who missed the penalty is crying, but these things happen, and I definitely take responsibility.”​ Naoki Kusunose, Japan coach