AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Nov. 16, 2008) – The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team fell in the championship game of the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, losing to Korea DPR in overtime by a 2-1 score in front of a crowd of 16,162 at North Harbour Stadium.
The North Koreans make history by becoming the first-ever women’s world champions at the Under-17 level, but they had to work extremely hard against a committed U.S. side that left everything it had on the field over the 120 minutes.
The USA took an early lead on a strange goal in just the second minute of the match. Central defender Cloee Colohan chucked a long throw-in from the right sideline and the Koreans let the ball bounce in the penalty area. In windy conditions, it took a huge hop over goalkeeper Hong Myong Hui, who jumped backwards for the ball, but only managed to push it into the net. Had she not touched the ball, the goal would not have counted, as a throw-in is an indirect set play.
The USA defended the 1-0 lead gamely until 13 minutes remained in the match when North Korea got what was a deserved equalizer. Ri Un Ae sent a sizzling 30-yard free-kick against the underside of the crossbar and the ball bounced hard down just inside the field. A North Korean player kept it alive at the left post, kicking the ball back over her head into the middle of the penalty area where Kim Un Hyang lofted a header into the left corner.
North Korea outshot the U.S. 31-16 for the match, putting 14 shots on goal to the U.S.’s three, but U.S. goalkeeper Taylor Vancil was on her game, catching numerous dangerous crosses while making several excellent stops on low shots throughout the match. The U.S. defenders, and especially marking backs Crystal Dunn and Rachel Quon, were excellent in limiting the Koreans to only a handful of really dangerous chances by winning timely tackles. Led by defensive midfielder Amber Brooks, the U.S. also won a majority of balls in the air, but in the end the Koreans kept pounding away until they got the winning goal.
It came with just seven minutes left in overtime as Jang Hyon Sun finished off a lighting counter-attack, cutting inside from the left wing to lose a U.S. defender before rifling a right-footed shot from the top of the box that skipped just beyond Vancil’s reach and into the lower left corner.
The U.S. had two chances to grab an equalizer and send the match to penalty kicks, but Samantha Mewis fired high from the left corner of the penalty area in the 117th minute and the team’s final corner kick just seconds from time was cleared away.
The U.S. also had a few chances to get the first goal in overtime. In the 93rd minute, Kristie Mewis bent a free-kick over the defensive wall from the right side of the penalty, but Hong made a solid save at the near post. In the 108th minute, another long-throw in from Colohan looked dangerous as it skipped off Samantha Mewis’ head and to the head of substitute Samantha Johnson, but she couldn’t turn it on goal.
Kristie Mewis also put a corner kick onto the head of her sister in the 109th minute, but Samantha Mewis sent it just over the crossbar. Just before North Korea’s goal, Johnson had a chance to put the U.S. ahead when she beat Hong to a loose ball in a scramble near the left post, but her spinning shot from an almost impossible angle on the left end line flew out of bounds on the other side of the goal.
U.S. forwards Vicki DiMartino and Courtney Verloo expended some incredible energy trying to find a way through the organized Koreans while creating several dangerous chances throughout the match. The Koreans however also defended extremely well and Hong came up with several excellent plays in the penalty area, including a flying punch of a bouncing ball that was inches away from Samantha Mewis’ head in stoppage time of regulation.
The U.S. team did not put together an attacking rhythm on the level of the semifinal win over Germany, but still did well in spurts to possess the ball in midfield and work it around to attack down the flanks, only to find the Korean central defenders up to the task. The match was also extremely hard-hitting as the teams combined for 32 fouls with quite a few more left uncalled by the referee.
The U.S. picked up several individual tournament awards with DiMartino winning the Silver Boot as the tournament’s second leading scorer with five total goals, behind only Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsan who had six. DiMartino also became the first player in U.S. soccer history to score in five consecutive games in a World Cup.
Kristie Mewis, who slithered through the Koreans on several occasions during the afternoon, but could not unleash one of her dangerous left-footed drives, won the Bronze Ball as the tournament’s third best player behind Marozsan and Japan’s Mana Iwabuchi.
Vancil, who played every minute for the USA in nets, was awarded Golden Glove Award as the best goalkeeper in the tournament.
Verloo, who tied Jon Myong Hwa for third in scoring in the tournament with four goals and one assist each, just missed out on the Bronze Boot as she played two more minutes than Jon over the course of the tournament which was the tie-breaker for the award.
In the third-place match, Germany defeated England, 3-0.
U.S. UNDER-17 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match: United States U-17 Women's National Team vs. Korea DPR
Date: November 16, 2008
Competition: 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup – Final
Venue: North Harbour Stadium; Auckland, New Zealand
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (10 p.m. ET on Nov. 15)
Weather: 68 degrees, partly cloudy, breezy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 1OT 2OT F
USA 1 0 0 0 1
PRK 0 1 0 1 2
USA – Own Goal (Hong Myong Hui) 2nd minute.
PRK – Kim Un Hyang (n/a) 77
PRK – Jang Hyong Sun (n/a) 113
USA: 18-Taylor Vancil; 4-Crystal Dunn, 6-Cloee Colohan, 17-Rachel Quon; 11-Samantha Mewis, 3-Amber Brooks (Capt.), 13-Julia Roberts, 10-Kristie Mewis, 20-Olivia Klei (19-Elizabeth Eddy, 61); 8-Vicki DiMartino (9-Samantha Johnson, 106), 7-Courtney Verloo
Subs not used: 1-Alexa Gaul, 2-Alexis Harris, 5-Erika Tymrak, 12-Hayley Brock, 14-Mandy Laddish, 15-Kate Bennett, 16-Morgan Brian, 21-Jennifer Pettigrew
Head Coach: Kazbek Tambi
PRK: 1-Hong Myong Hui; 2-Hyon Un Hui, 3-Jon Hong Yon, 5-Kim Sol Hui, 18-Kim Un Hyang; 6-Kim Uj (15-Ri Un Ae, 68), 8-Pae Yon Hui (19-Jang Hyon Sun, 104), 12-Kim Hyon Mi, 9-Ho Un Byol; 10-Jon Myong Hwa, 11-Yun Hyon Hui (7-Kim Un Ju, 53)
Subs Not Used: 4-Ryu Un Jong, 13-Jo Myong Hui, 14-Ro Chol Ok, 16-Cha Ok, 17-Jong Yu Ri, 20-Ri Hyang hui, 21-Kim Su Jong
Head Coach: Ri Ui Ham
Stats Summary: USA / PRK
Shots: 16 / 31
Shots on Goal: 3 / 14
Saves: 11 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 15 / 17
Offside: 3 / 0
PRK - Hyon Un Hui (caution) 117th minute
Referee: Silvia Reyes (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Cleidy Mary Ribeiro (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Maria Barbosa (BRA)
Fourth Official: Liana Stoicescu (ROU)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match:
2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Awards
Golden Ball Mana Iwabuchi (JPN)
Silver Ball Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER)
Bronze Ball Kristie Mewis (USA)
Golden Boot Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER)
Silver Boot Vicki DiMartino (USA)
Bronze Boot Jon Myong Hwa (PRK)
Golden Glove Taylor Vancil (USA)
FIFA Fair Player Award