Dec. 1, 2008
Story courtesy of U.S. Soccer
CHILLAN, Chile - The U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team advanced to the semifinals of the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup with a 3-0 win over England in front of more than 11,000 fans at Estadio Nelson Oyarzun in Chillan, Chile on Sunday.
With the win, the U.S. advances to the semifinal and will play the winner of Monday evening's quarterfinal between Brazil and Germany. The USA's semifinal will take place on Thursday, December 4 at 7 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET) in Coquimbo, Chile with a place in the U-20 Women's World Cup Final on the line. The USA has qualified for the semifinal stage in all four FIFA events held for this age group.
Midfielder and team captain Keelin Winters scored the game-winning goal in the 53rd minute while Sydney Leroux tallied her third and fourth of the tournament in the second half. At the other end of the field, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher led her defense to its third shutout in four games as Nikki Marshall and Lauren Fowlkes continued their solid play on the backline. Both have played every minute in the center of the U.S. defense so far in the tournament.
"I thought in the first half England did a very good job of not letting us play our style," said head coach Tony DiCicco. "We had to change the way we played and then work back to our style as the game went on. We felt that coming back to Chillan was like playing in our home stadium."
After a tense first half where neither team could find its offensive rhythm, the teams went into the locker rooms scoreless. It was the Americans who would come out with new life in the second half, getting on the board after just eight minutes.
Midfielder Christine Nairn came into the game in the 52nd minute and immediately jogged over to take the USA's eighth corner kick of the night. After sending it into the box, the ball was cleared back out to Nairn on the right wing. She settled it and sent driven ball to the far post where team captain Keelin Winters rose above two defenders to send a well-struck header from seven yards out just inside the left post.
"I think we have to give a lot of credit to England because in the first half they were really battling with us," said Winters. "In the second half we came out with a little bit more desire and I think that's what it came down to tonight."
England struggled to build an attack in the second half as the American defense shut down everything that came its way. Rachel Williams and Jade Moore came on in the second half to try to spark the English offense, but the few shots they could muster were all from long range and presented little problem for Naeher.
In the 81st minute, the U.S. took advantage of another corner kick opportunity and again it was Nairn with the service. The lefty played an in-swinger that flew perfectly for Leroux, who darted in front of a defender to head down and into the net on a bounce from five yards away.
Leroux's second of the night came in the fourth minute added time. Winters, who was named Sierra Mist Woman of the Match for her efforts in the midfield, won the ball in her own end and moved forward on the dribble. She played a soft ball through the middle of English back line for Leroux, who sped past the last defender and with a defender in tow, shot from the top of the penalty are to place a perfect shot just inside the right post past the onrushing English goalkeeper.
"I think there were some nerves, but we knew what we had to do to turn ourselves around in the second half," said Leroux after the match. "The change was just us realizing that if we didn't step it up that we could be going home. We've all sacrificed too much to go home at this point."
In tonight's other quarterfinal contest, the runner up in the USA's Group B, France, knocked off Group A champion Nigeria, 3-2 with an 88th minute game-winner from Nora Coton Pelagie.
In Monday's highly anticipated quarterfinal matches, Japan and Korea DPR will meet an all-Asian affair while Brazil and Germany will meet in a clash of traditional powers to determine the final two semifinal teams.
The USA's resounding win over England also kept alive a remarkable streak for the U.S. Women's National Team programs, as the USA has advanced to the semifinals of every FIFA women's event ever held. That streak includes five FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments, four Olympic Games, two FIFA U-19 Women's World Cups, two FIFA U-20 Women's World Cups and the just completed inaugural U-17 FIFA Women's World Cup.
-- U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT --
Match: U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team vs. England
Date: Nov. 30, 2008
Competition: FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup - Quarterfinals
Venue: Chillan, Chile; Estadio Nelson Oryuzan
Kickoff: 7 p.m. / 5 p.m.
Weather: 70 degrees, cloudy
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 6-Elli Reed, 15-Lauren Fowlkes, 17-Nikki Marshall, 3-Meghan Klingenberg; 12-Ingrid Wells (11-Christine Nairn, 52), 14-Keelin Winters (capt.), 8-Becky Edwards; 16-Nikki Washington (10-Michelle Enyeart, 80), 13-Alex Morgan (2-Kaley Fountain, 90), 19-Sydney Leroux
Subs: 4-Liz Harkin, 5-Kierstan Dallstream, 7-Alyssa Mautz, 9-Gina DiMartino, 18-Chantel Jones, 21-Cat Parkill
Head Coach: Tony DiCicco
ENG: 1-Rebecca Spencer, 2-Stephanie Houghton, 3-Claire Rafferty, 4-Danielle Buet (20-Jade Moore, 66), 5-Fern Whelan (capt.), 7-Toni Duggan, 8-Remi Allen, 9-Natasha Dowie, 11-Jessica Clarke, 12-Chelsea Weston, 14-Brooke Chaplen (10-Rachel Williams, 57)
Subs: 6-Sophie Bradley, 13-Ashley Baker, 15-Gilly Flaherty, 16-Kerys Harrop, 17-Rebecca Hall, 18-Michelle Hinnigan, 19-Sophie Walton, 21-Helen Anderson
Head Coach: Mo Marley