Contributing writer Tim Lee got this in about today’s U20 Women’s World Cup draw in Canada. Not a bad draw, Korea will still have it’s work cut out for them to advance out of their group later this summer. Let’s go to Tim’s report:
The Tavern of the Taeguk Warriors is not just limited to Men’s talent – despite all the hype around the Greece game just a couple days away from now, the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup draw took place today, and the young, female Taeguk Warriors learned their opponents.
The tournament will be hosted by my country of residence, Canada, who won the rights over Zimbwabwe in a bid for the 2015 Women’s World Cup as well. The tournament will be held in four cities – Edmonton out west, Toronto, home to a Koreatown, Montreal, the bilingual city, and the east coast town of Moncton.
The Koreans were seeded in Pot A, as they were the 2013 Women’s U-19 Asian Cup champions. They could not be drawn with hosts Canada, North Americans champs USA or European queens France. Also, North Korea and China were out of the picture as they finished 2nd and 3rd in the Asian qualifying round. (Japan and Australia did not qualify.)
The first pot was drawn, and Korea found themselves playing two games in the city with the lowest Korean population out of the 4 possible (450 as of 2011), Moncton. With a population of 69,000 people, (Yes, 69,000.), and not even the largest city in the Maritime Provinces region, I find it an odd choice to host matches in lieu of larger cities in the region. The Moncton Stadium also only allows for 10,000 spectators. *sighs*.
After all the dust had settled, Korea found themselves opening their tournament in Group C on the 6th of August against European runners-up, England. The English lost the European finals in extra time to France, and conceded just 2 goals all tournament, although historically, they have not been very successful at the Women’s U-20 level both continentally and internationally.
On the 9th of August, Korea faces Nigeria. To say the Super Falcons cruised through their qualifying IS an understatement – Nigeria went 31-0 in three games to comfortably qualify – this is a testament to their dominancy in African Women’s Football, as well as maybe the struggles of the other nations. They finished joint-champions with Ghana. (Africa does not crown one.) Their previous claims to fame at the Women’s Junior level is the 2010 U-20 second place finish and the 2013 U-17 victory.
Luckily, the Koreans will have one game where they should receive “home” support, and that is their final group stage game in Toronto. The Ontarian capital is home to over 25,000 Koreans, and has a Koreatown in the city. Their opponents – the Mexicans – were runners-up at the North American tournament, and were the 2011 World U-17 champions. If my calculations are correct, that means the majority of their players should be of age for this tournament.
Korea itself are indeed the Asian champions and their only blip of the qualifying campaign was a 2-2 draw with China. Jang Seul Gi, Choi Yu Ri and Lee Geum Min were the main goalscorers in the qualifying tourney. Jang was the top scorer and also was the MVP of the qualifying stage.
Recap: The groups are:
Group A: Canada (host), Ghana, Finland and our brothers and sisters up North, Korea DPR. (Based in Toronto.)
Group B: Germany, United States, China and Brazil (The CLEAR group of death based in Edmonton.)
Group C: England, KOREA REPUBLIC, Mexico and Nigeria (Based in East coast town of Moncton.)
Group D: New Zealand, Paraguay, France and Costa Rica (Perhaps the easiest group based in Montreal.)
If our U-20 Lady Taeguk Warriors make it our of their group, expect a match up with France or Costa Rica in the Quarters.
Tim Lee is a contributing write for the Tavern