The 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup Champions
The U.S. U-20 WNT capped off a truly amazing tournament on Sept. 8, defeating an extremely talented Germany 1-0 in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Final. There were more than a few notable accomplishments in the tournament.
Forward Kealia Ohai joined a select group of American women who have scored the winning goal in a world championship final. She also scored in the semifinal, making her one of just three American women to score in a semifinal and a final of a world championship along with Shannon MacMillan at the 1996 Olympics and Lindsey Tarpley at the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Cup.
Kealia Ohai leaps into the arms of Sarah Killion after scoring in the U-20 WWC Final
Ohai became the seventh woman to score a winning goal in the run of play in a Women’s World Cup or Olympic Final, joining Michelle Akers (1991 WWC), Tiffeny Milbrett (1996 Olympics), Lindsay Tarpley (2002 U-19 WWC), Alex Morgan (2004 U-20 WWC), Abby Wambach (2004 Olympics), and Carli Lloyd (2008 and 2012 Olympics). Of course, Brandi Chastain scored the winning penalty kick in the 1999 WWC.
The USA rebounded from a 3-0 loss in group play to Germany to earn some sweet revenge in the Final against a Germany team that had outscored its opponents 16-0 heading into the World Cup Final.
And it's all over in Tokyo!
Forward Maya Hayes scored four goals, all in the first two games, to lead the team in scoring, but the USA got goals from five different players over the tournament.
The USA beat three very good teams in the knockout round -- all group winners -- defeating Group C winner Korea DPR in the quarterfinal, Group B winner Nigeria in the semifinal and Group C champs Germany in the final.
U.S. captain Julie Johnston accomplished an extremely rare feat for a defender, earning the Bronze Ball as the tournament's third best player. She marshalled a U.S. defense that played spectacularly over the knockout rounds to put the clamps on a North Korean team featuring seven players from their Olympic Team, 2010 finalists Nigeria and 2010 champions Germany.
U.S. captain Julie Johnston receives the World Cup Trophy from FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the Honorary Patron of the Japan Football Association, Princess Hisako Takamado
It was a tremendous run for a tremendous group of young American players who came together as a team as well as any in U.S. history and won while playing every second for each other and for their country.
Now, it's time for the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup as the USA's little sisters set up for a four-day training camp in Cyprus before traveling to Azerbaijan to kick off play in the third FIFA women's world championship of the year on Sept. 22 against a talented France team.