In Canada all roads on Sunday will lead you to Montreal’s Olympic stadium, where the last match of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2014 will be played between Germany and Nigeria. This will bring the curtains down on the 20-day old competition featuring world’s best U-20 teams for women. On Wednesday’s first semifinal, Nigeria scored an emphatic 6-2 victory over North Korea at Moncton Stadium, helped by a supercharged Asisat Oshoala, who netted 4 goals. In the other relatively tougher semifinal at Montreal, Germany defeated France 2-1 to set up an interesting clash with the fast-moving Nigerians.
The game between Nigeria and North Korea belonged entirely to the highly talented Asisat Oshoala, who is the tournament’s top-scorer now with 7 goals. Keeping with the trend of scoring early in this World Cup, Nigeria raced to a 1-0 lead, when Courtney Dike got a pass from Oshoala in the second minute and ran with the ball. North Korea’s captain Choe Sol-Gyong couldn’t do much with a tackle as Dike moved quickly to position herself at a point from where her deftly executed shot found its mark. The 24th minute second goal from Nigeria came in a brilliant fashion from none other than Oshoala, to whom d the ball, courtesy a wrong pass from North Korea’s Centre-half. The Nigerian falconet ran round the advancing goalkeeper and found an open goal in front of her. Seven minutes later, Korea DPR reduced the lead to 2-1, when Ri Un-Sim displayed remarkable individual skill after she was fed a long ball from midfield. Ri dribbled past two Nigerian defenders and from close to the goal-mouth, she shot powerfully on the top right corner with Nigerian goalkeeper Sandra Chiichii watching in dismay. The North Korean women appeared to draw some inspiration from Ri’s goal and carried themselves to the halftime.
The Nigerian coach sent Uchechi Sunday in 53rd minute as a substitute. In much the same way, she had done in the match against New Zealand, Sunday lived her to reputation and restored Nigeria’s lead in the 55th minute. Sunday received Oshoala’s cross near the goal and scored from close range. The game came alive as Oshoala made it 4-1 for Nigeria with her second goal in 59th minute. In the 61st minute, a penalty was awarded against Nigeria for a handball by Ugo Nkoju. North Korea’s Jon was not to make any mistake from the spot and the score became 4-2. After this, Oshoala’s individual brilliance was on full display as she collected the ball and moved with superb control in North Korean territory. Leaving the defenders behind, Oshoala broke into the box and aimed perfectly to make it 5-2 for Nigeria and a hat-trick for herself. In between, Sunday also came close to scoring in the 72nd minute but the goalkeeper thwarted her attempt. The last Nigerian goal also came from Oshoala in the 85th minute, when she was quick to pounce on a defensive error by North Korea and shot into the goal past the helpless Chol Ok.
In the second semifinal at Montreal, Germany beat France 2-1 to set up a clash with Nigeria for the championship. France has been a wonderful side and many expected them to take the crown home. Despite Germany taking an early 12th minute lead, Frenchwomen dominated the ball possession. Unfortunately, they could not convert many opportunities that came their way. The match lived up to the expectations of an even contest and tight finish after an attacking start from both sides. For 12 minutes, no goals could be scored. Then Germany’s Theresa Panfil produced a highball of a pass, which was perfect for Sara Dabritz. The goal-bound shot from Dabritz could not be cleanly gathered by French goalkeeper Solene Durand and the spill from hand was a god-sent opportunity for Pauline Bremer, who shot from five yards to put Germany ahead. The French forwards fought after the goal against them so early and dominated play all through. Their efforts were finally rewarded in the 45th minute. France got a corner-kick award and Lavogez’s cross came to Griedge Mbock Bathy, whose deflection sailed over the head of the German goalkeeper.
After the break, both sides had their chances and it was difficult to predict the finalist for Sunday’s championship match against Nigeria. France missed some early chances in second half but they continued with their slick passing and forward movements. With nine minutes left for the match, Germany got a corner, which provided an opportunity for Rebecca Knaak. Though Knaak’s header was apparently cleared off, the ball dropped in front of Lena Petermann, who scored an opportunistic goal to break the French hearts. In the remaining time and despite the best of efforts, France could not produce the equalizer. Therefore while Germany goes to compete for the gold on Sunday against Nigeria, France will face North Korea for the third spot in the tournament.
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