Friday 17 August 2018, 09:47

England and Japan complete semi-final line-up

  • Semi-final field is set following Friday’s quarter-finals

  • England reach last four for the first time

  • Japan prove too strong for Germany

THE DAY REPLAYED - The semi-final field has been set at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 after England and Japan secured their spots in the last four with quarter-final wins in Vannes on Friday.

England came from a goal down to defeat the Netherlands on the strength of a Georgia Stanway brace in the day’s first match, while Japan scored three times in the second half to get past Germany and ensure the semi-finals had one non-European representative on Monday.

Results Quarter-finals - Vannes England 2-1 Netherlands Germany 1-3 Japan

Memorable moments

Third time’s a charm Before Thursday, England’s best achievement at a U-20 Women’s World Cup was reaching the quarter-finals in 2002 and 2008, but no further. Victory over the Dutch takes the Young Lionesses into the unchartered territory of the last four, with Mo Marley’s side currently the top scorers at France 2018 with 12 goals. Having seen their male counterparts claim World Cup titles at U-17 and U-20 levels in 2017, this England team will be determined to start the same trend in the women’s game this year.

Young Nadeshiko spoil all-European party With England, France and Spain all in the last four, which in itself is the first time that has occurred at a U-20 Women’s World Cup, Germany had the opportunity to make the semi-finals an all-European affair. However, a fine Japanese performance that included three second-half goals dashed those hopes, with the East Asians finally claiming a win over the Germans in a knockout stage match in this competition at the third time of asking. It was also in the quarter-finals that Japan broke German hearts at the 2011 Women’s World Cup before going on to win the title.

Five-horse race? Heading into the quarter-finals, several players were in the frame for the adidas Golden Boot award as the competition’s top scorer. Following her two goals against the Netherlands, England’s Georgia Stanway now stands alongside Spain’s Patri Guijarro at the summit of the France 2018 scoring charts with five goals each. Trailing just behind the joint leaders are France’s Amelie Delabre and the Japanese pair of Saori Takarada and Riko Ueki, who both scored against Germany on Friday, with all three on four goals each. With two more matches left for all five players to each improve on their totals, it is sure to be an intriguing dash to the finish line.

The words “We felt we underachieved in the European [U-19] Championships last year, and that’s no disrespect to anybody else that was there. We just didn’t feel that we left everything out there, so the approach to this tournament was we were just going to attack the tournament and express ourselves and do everything we can to try and get the result. It’s more about us being positive and having fun. As I keep reinforcing, they’re just enjoying the journey.” England coach Mo Marley

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Up next

Semi-finals - Monday 20 August

England-Japan, Vannes, 16:00 (local time) France-Spain, Vannes, 19:30 (local time)