Closing the book on the 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup

I have been remiss about wrapping up the U-20 Women’s World Cup, but the results were as foretold. Germany thrashed Korea Republic 5-1 in the semis, and Nigeria advanced to the Championship Game 1-0 over Columbia. Then Germany proceeded to claim the gold in a 2-0 game. They are the first hosts to win the cup (previously, only Canada got close, taking second in the inaugural tournament). Korea Republic concluded by beating Columbia 1-0.

Every year except 2004, the same player to win the adidas Golden Boot has also won the adidas Golden Ball. In 2010, those honors go to Alexandra Popp. FIFA’s Fair Play award goes to Korea Republic, which is the sort of thing that makes me laugh.

adidas Gold, Silver and Bronze Balls
adidas Golden Ball: Alexandra Popp (GER, who won 50.79% of votes from the accreditied media at the event)
adidas Silver Ball: Ji So-Yun (KOR, 14.66%)
adidas Bronze Ball: Kim Kulig (GER, 9.16%)

adidas Gold, Silver and Bronze Shoes
adidas Golden Boot:  Alexandra Popp (GER) – 10 goals
adidas Silver Boot: Ji So-Yun (KOR) – 8 goals
adidas Bronze Boot: Sydney Leroux (USA) – 5 goals

My, how the mighty have fallen.

However, the US did not finish the tournament completely empty handed and disgraced. FIFA showed the love to Santa Clara’s Bianca Henninger–and really, how could they not? She is an incredible goalkeeper, without peer in her age group.

Adidas Golden Glove
American goalkeeper Bianca Henninger showed throughout the tournament that she is very much the number one, and not just for the USA U-20 team. The 19-year-old was in sparkling form as soon as she got to Germany, and conceded only one goal during the group stage. Defeat finally came, but only after penalties against Nigeria in the quarter-finals. A calming presence, she is also rock-solid when it comes to catching crosses, and communicates well with her defenders.

This, despite the USA’s loss in penalty kicks. As I’ve said, this wasn’t lost on saves; this was lost on the inability to convert and score. (Was there a reason Henninger wasn’t lined up to take a PK?) The Bronco captain-slash-keeper was one of the best parts of this entire mess, and I hope she can charge unshaken into the fall season.

On the day of the U-20 WWC semifinals

Closing in on the semis with the US knocked out, I’m not surprised that there isn’t much to say on the US front. The WNT blog has yet to say “That’s a wrap,” although it does indirectly bring up a great possibility. Could Teresa Noyola play for Mexico, if she wanted to? Wouldn’t that be awesome? The US doesn’t seem to want her, and Mexico does have that US-based contingent.

I do have one US U-20 link to share, regarding Mollie Pathman and getting me ready for the NCAA season.

Everything else is from FIFA, but it seemed unfair to stop relinking their news just because Mexico is out of the tournament. Skipping the 2011 mascot crap, we have…

Recapping the U-20 WWC quarterfinals

My first trip to FIFA.com this morning and what do I see? Fatigue blamed for USA failureare you joking me, Heif Ellis? Does anyone really believe that? Sure, this team was probably fatigued, but that is a cheap excuse for the failure. Were they fatigued in qualifiers? Were they fatigued in that first game against Ghana, through all the rest of group play? If fatigue is to blame, then that just backs up the heart of the issue: this wasn’t the team the US was looking for. The force was not strong with these players. Jill Ellis cannot discern when it’s a trap. Need I go on?

This picture from the USWNT blog describes the US U-20s' performance perfectly. I agree, Nairn.

Let’s have some links.

July 29, Semifinals (in Eastern time)

  • 9:30 AM – Germany vs Korea Republic
  • 12:30 PM – Columbia vs Nigeria

Are we done with the 2010 US U-20s yet?

I’m getting bored of talking about how bad the US roster, starters, and subs were this tournament. I am really disappointed in the captains’/veterans’ play; they both performed better in 2008. I still think Henninger is one of the top two keepers in the US at this age level. Quon was injured, hopefully not badly. Verloo, Noyola, and DiMartino disappeared on the bench. Hayes subbed in and out. Kristie Mewis did her best, but it’s hard to play 1 v 11. Even the defense broke down as the tournament progressed. Et cetera.

It’s hard to deny that you can evenly distribute the “blame” among the players and the coach. I like Ellis, but her work with the 2010 U-20s is like Gabarra’s work with the 2010 Washington Freedom. Decent players, good on paper… shabby results. That’s fine at UCLA, but not on the ladder to the US Women’s National Team.

It’s a horrible thing for a US (and U-20) fan to say, but I’m glad this team is out of the running. This wasn’t a strong team to begin with–like I said, as far back as qualifiers. The problems weren’t fixed. The results were telling.

Mexico is playing Korea Republic right now, and although they are down 3-0 to the AFC side, the Mexicans are still playing better than the US did. They are overmatched, clearly, but they are consistent. Cuellar, Corral, and Santiago haven’t given up. They will lose, and despite the scoreline, it won’t be an embarrassing stumble backwards for their program.

[A very quick edit: yes, Mexico’s Gomez Junco scored as this post was publishing, so nya! No frustration, not giving up.]

Webcast update for the quarterfinals of the U-20 Women’s World Cup

I almost never make predictions in tournaments, so I pretty much forgot who I expected to advance from group for the 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup.

Group A: Looks like I felt solid about Germany and France and didn’t mention Columbia at all. France struggled more than expected. Germany advances at the top of their group with 9 points. Columbia and France are even with 4 points apiece, but Columbia owns the tiebreaker.

Group B: Here, I felt like Korea DPR and Brazil were the safe bets. This was the group of death, after all. Obviously, Brazil crashing out was a surprise. Sweden tops the group with 7 points, and Korea DPR advances with 6.

Group C: Evenly matched, as expected. I had pegged Japan and England to go through, and I am very happy to be wrong. Mexico and Nigeria advance after a great showing. They are even with 5 points, and Mexico takes first with the tiebreaker.

Group D: I got one right! USA and Korea Republic to advance. I didn’t expect it to be so hard for the US, so this is a shallow win. The US has 7 points to Korea Republic’s 6.

Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Switzerland leave without any points. England drops out with 1 point from their first game, a draw with Nigeria.

Now the knockout rounds start. Times listed are Eastern. They will be on ESPN3, and the US game will be on ESPNU as well.

Quarterfinals

  • July 24
    5:30 AM – Sweden vs Columbia
    12:00 PM – Germany vs Korea DPR
  • July 25
    5:30 AM – USA vs Nigeria
    12:30 PM – Mexico vs Korea Republic

The semifinal games will be played July 29 at 9:30 and 12:30.