- U.S. Captures Third U-20 World Cup Crown, Blanks Defending Champion
- Kealia Ohai Scores Game-Winning Goal in 44th Minute, Her Second of the Tournament After Also Scoring in Semifinal
- U.S. captain Julie Johnston Wins Bronze Ball as Tournament’s Third Best Player
- USA Ends Germany’s Record Shutout Streak at 610 Minutes
TOKYO, Japan (Sept. 8, 2012) – The United States defeated defending champion Germany 1-0 in front of 31,114 fans to capture the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup on Saturday.
The match marked the first time ever that the USA and Germany – two long time women’s soccer powers – had met in the final of a world championship tournament.
Forward Kealia Ohai scored in the 44th minute to end Germany’s record shutout streak and it held up as the game-winner that earned the Americans their third World Cup crown in this tournament’s history. The U.S. won the first-ever FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup Final against Canada in 2002 and captured the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup against Korea DPR.
Ohai’s goal, which came at the perfect time to give the USA momentum heading into the locker room at halftime, was created by U.S. right back Crystal Dunn who maneuvered down the right flank before cutting past Germany’s Annabel Jaeger to the inside. Dunn powered in front of the German defender and then took a hard touch to the end line before cutting a cross back into the seam to the middle of the penalty box.
The ball initially looked like it would roll to U.S. forward Katie Stengel, but it got past her and Ohai was on the spot to bend a perfect 12-yard shot into the left side netting past Germany goalkeeper Laura Benkarth. Ohai’s effort in running at the Germany back line while also sprinting all over the field to defend was inspirational and her performance was worthy of a game-winning goal.
That goal put an end to Germany’s record shutout streak at 610 minutes and it was the first and only goal Germany conceded during the tournament. The victory also reversed a 3-0 loss to Germany that the USA suffered in the final match of group play and completed a trifecta of victories over group winners in all of the knockout round games.
The USA defeated Group C winner Korea DPR in the quarterfinal, Group B winner Nigeria in the semifinal and Group C champs Germany in the final.
The Germans had scored three or more goals in four of their previous five games, with a 1-0 victory over Ghana during group play the closest a team had gotten thus far. The 2010 U-20 WWC champions reeled off a 4-0 victory against China and a 3-0 win against the USA in group play, a 4-0 victory against Norway in the quarterfinals and a 3-0 win against Japan in the semifinal.
U.S. head coach Steve Swanson made one change to his starting lineup from the quarterfinal and semifinal, inserting Stengel at center-forward in place of Kelly Cobb and the powerful striker did well to hold the ball up top for the USA before being replaced by Chioma Ubogagu on the hour mark.
Once again the USA’s center-midfield of Sarah Killion, Vanessa DiBernardo and Morgan Brian were superb in setting the rhythm of the U.S. attack while also helping keep the talented Germans at bay. The trio cut off and won a slew of German passes during the 90 minutes. In the 68th minute, Hayes – who put in some hard running during her time on the field despite feeling a bit ill before the match – was replaced by Samantha Mewis and the tall midfielder was once again exquisite in her role while helping keep possession, win tackles and secure the victory.
Germany showed some excellent moments in the attack on the night, but the Americans put together a tremendous defensive effort led by captain Julie Johnston – who won the Bronze Ball as the third best player in the tournament -- and goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin. The Germans fired 17 shots to the USA’s nine, but most were from distance and put just five on goal, all of which were saved by Heaberlin.
Johnston’s center-back partner Cari Roccaro was tremendous all night in covering German passes at the USA’s restraining lines while proving unbeatable in one-on-one challenges. Outside backs Dunn and Mollie Pathman were stellar in shutting down Germany’s potency from the flanks. The U.S. backs came up with quite a few timely and brave clearances, especially in the latter part of the match as the Germans pressed hard into the attack.
As Germany went all out for an equalizer in the second half, the Americans countered extremely well and came close on several occasions to getting a second goal. In the 87th minute, Ohai beat Benkarth to a through ball and rounded the ‘keeper, but her touch took her too deep and a defender was able to recover. Ubogagu also had a late chance on a breakaway that was deflected over the crossbar for a corner kick.
Heaberlin saved her best game for the final and earned her third shutout of the tournament. In the 72nd minute, she pushed Leonie Maier’s strike from way out onto the crossbar as it was headed for the upper right corner. Heaberlin also had several clutch saves in the closing minutes including a lunging stop to her right on a Lina Magull shot in the 89th minute. One minute into stoppage time, she snagged a pile-driver from Maier that was headed into the upper right corner as the ball stuck in her gloves.
Magull had an excellent chance to draw Germany level with the last kick of the match, but Heaberlin remained cool to produce a crucial sprawling save to the lower left corner.
Seconds later, the final whistle blew and the Americans were world champions.
- Kealia Ohai became the seventh woman to score a winning goal in the run of play in 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.
- Maya Hayes made her team-leading 43rd career U-20 appearance on Saturday.
- Five U.S. players scored in the 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup: Hayes (4), Kealia Ohai (2), Vanessa DiBernardo (1), Chioma Ubogagu (1) and Morgan Brian (1).
- Mandy Laddish was the USA’s final sub of the game, coming on for Killion in the 89th minute.
- Earlier in the day, host Japan defeated Nigeria 2-1 to win the third-place match with Asuka Nishikawa’s 50th-minute goal proving to be the game-winner.
- Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsan was the Golden Ball winner as the tournament’s best player. Japan’s Hanae Shibata won the Silver Ball.
- Kim Un Hwa of North Korea won the Golden Boot with seven goals in just four games. Yoko Tanaka of Japan won the Silver Boot with six goals and two assists and Lena Letzen of Germany won the Bronze Boot with six goals.
- Germany’s Laura Benkarth won the Golden Glove as the top goalkeeper in the tournament and Japan won the Fair Play Award.
- The 2012 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup begins in two weeks in Azerbaijan and the USA will face France, Gambia and Korea DPR in Group B play.
- U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team Match Report -
Match: United States U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Germany
Date: Sept. 8, 2012
Competition: 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup; Final
Venue: Tokyo National Stadium; Tokyo, Japan
Kickoff: 6:20 a.m. ET (7:20 p.m. local)
Weather: 80 degrees, hot and humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
GER 0 0 0
USA – Kealia Ohai (Crystal Dunn) 44th minute
USA: 1-Bryane Heaberlin; 4-Crystal Dunn, 8-Julie Johnston (capt.), 3-Cari Roccaro, 2-Mollie Pathman; 16-Sarah Killion (14-Mandy Laddish, 89), 10-Vanessa DiBernardo, 6-Morgan Brian; 7-Kealia Ohai, 12-Katie Stengel (9-Chioma Ubogagu, 60), 5-Maya Hayes (13-Samantha Mewis, 68)
Subs not used: 11-Becca Wann, 15-Kassey Kallman, 17-Taylor Schram, 18-Abby Smith, 19-Stephanie Amack, 20-Kelly Cobb, 21-Jami Kranich
Head Coach: Steve Swanson
GER: 1-Laura Benkarth; 2-Leonie Maier, 4-Jennifer Cramer, 5-Luisa Wensing, 6-Kathrin Hendrich (20-Lina Magull, 66); 7-Annabel Jaeger, 8-Melanie Leupolz (18-Silvana Chojnowski, 78); 16-Anja Hegenauer (3-Carolin Simon, 59), 10-Ramona Petzelberger (capt.), 11-Lena Lotzen; 14-Dzsenifer Marozsan
Subs not used: 9-Nicole Rolser, 12-Meike Kaemper, 13-Sophie Howard, 15-Karoline Heinze, 17-Katharina Leiding, 19-Marie Pyko, 21-Anke Preub
Head Coach: Maren Meinert
Stats Summary: USA / GER
Shots: 9 / 17
Shots on Goal: 4 / 5
Saves: 5 / 3
Corner Kicks: 6 / 12
Fouls: 5 / 6
Offside: 2 / 2
Referee: Pernilla Larsson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Maria Sukenikova (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Sanja Rodak (CRO)
Fourth Official: Nami Sato (JPN)
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