(Tuesday, Aug. 5; 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU, WatchESPN)
U-20 Women’s World Cup history: Germany has had tremendous success in this tournament, winning it twice (2004 and 2010) and finishing second once and third twice. In fact, the only time the Germans did not finish in the top three was in Russia in 2006 when they fell to the USA 4-1 in the quarterfinal round. Germany has been in the last two U-20 Women’s World Cup Finals, winning at home in 2010 while scoring 20 goals in six games and defeating Nigeria 2-0 in the title game. Numerous players who have played for Germany at the U-20 level have gone on to star for the senior side.
How they got here: Germany fell in the semifinal of the 2013 UEFA U-19 Women’s Championship by a 2-1 score to eventual champion France, but the semifinal berth was good enough to book tickets to Canada. In group play, Germany demolished Norway 5-0, defeated Sweden 2-0 and drew with eventual fellow qualifier Finland 1-1. In the semifinal France’s Kadidiatou Diani scored twice in three minutes (62nd and 64th) and the Germans could only muster a stoppage time penalty kick from Pauline Bremer.
Head coach: Maren Meinert
Did you know: Head coach Maren Meinert played on Germany’s 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship team and was the MVP of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) in 2003 with the Boston Breakers under former U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. This will be her fifth U-20 Women’s World Cup at the helm of Germany.
(Friday, Aug. 8; 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU, WatchESPN)
U-20 World Cup history: Brazil has qualified for every edition of the tournament, finishing fourth in 2002 and 2004 (when they were led by two of the world’s best strikers in Marta and Cristiane) before coming third in 2006 (then they defeated the USA in a penalty kick shootout after the match ended 0-0). In 2008, Brazil lost 3-2 in the quarterfinal to a German side that went on to finish third, and were knocked out in the first phase in 2010, losing 1-0 to Korea DPR in their opening game before drawing 1-1 with Sweden. A 4-1 victory over New Zealand in the team’s last match was not enough to avoid elimination. In the most recent World Cup in 2012 in Japan, Brazil did not make it out of the group after drawing with Italy and Nigeria and losing to Korea Republic.
How they got here: Brazil arrives to Canada as South American champions for the sixth time. Brazil defeated fellow qualifier Paraguay 2-0 in the final, meaning that Brazil have now won every edition of the continental tournament at this age level. A penalty from Andressa opened the scoring 35 minutes into the first half after Ludmila was brought down in the area. In the second half, it was Ludmila’s turn to score when the striker received the ball from Andressa, dribbled past two defenders and slipped a shot past the keeper. Brazil finished the tournament with six wins and a draw, also defeating Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela, while drawing with Colombia, in group play, and took down Bolivia (3-0), Colombia (6-0) and Paraguay (2-0) in the final phase.
Head coach: Doriva Bueno
Did you know: Marta won the Silver Ball at this tournament in 2002 and the Golden Ball as the tournament’s top player in 2004.
(Tuesday, Aug. 12; 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and WatchESPN)
U-20 World Cup history: While Chinese women’s soccer has been down a bit of late, China does have a strong history in this tournament, having finished as runner-up in two consecutive U-20 Women’s World Cups in 2004 and 2006. The Chinese, however, have since failed to progress beyond the group phase. The Steel Rosebuds suffered an early exit in a difficult group also featuring eventual champions USA and semifinalists France at Chile 2008 and, after missing qualification for Germany 2010, they were eliminated during the group stage in Japan in 2012.
How they got here: China PR finished in third place in Asian qualifying tournament which they hosted to earn its berth to Canada. They opened with a 2-2 draw against the Korea Republic, fell 1-0 to Korea DPR and then earned a hard-fought and crucial 2-1 win over Australia, before drawing 2-2 against Japan. China wrapped up the tournament with a resounding 8-0 demolition of Myanmar to seal third place and qualification.
Head coach: Wang Jun
Did you know: China defeated the USA in a penalty kick shootout in the U-20 Women’s World Cup semifinal 2004 after the match had ended 0-0. It was the first game during the entire cycle that the USA had failed to score at least one goal.