By Aldwyn McGill
Host Canada advanced to the quarter final of the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup after defeating Korea DPR 1-0 in the second match of the double header at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
Janine Beckie's goal at the 65th minute pushed Canada into second place on goal difference behind Korea DPR. Ghana defeated Finland 2-1 to create a traffic jam at the top of the Group A standings after the top three teams finished with six points.
Canada's back was against the wall after losing its opening match against Ghana. But it was a stellar performance by forward Nichelle Prince that created the energy and firepower that saw Canada come from two goals down to defeat Finland 3-2 at BMO Field last Friday.
Operating at a different level of play, tournament favorites Germany and U.S. advanced with impressive victories over Brazil (5-1) and China (3-0) respectively in the third and last games of their Group B schedules.
As per tournament policies, the third games of each group are played simultaneously and, while the U.S. team was making light work of China in Moncton, Germany was putting on a display of attacking soccer in their 5-1 win over Brazil in Montreal.
But the win was not as easy for Germany as the final score indicates. Brazil led the contest 1-0 at the half and would have eliminated Germany from the tournament with a 2-0 victory. But it was yet another Brazil team which came crashing down at the hands of the mighty Germans at a major FIFA tournament.
Just one month ago, Germany shocked the world when they defeated Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final victory of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil for Brazil's worst defeat in World Cup history. Their U-20 Women's 5-1 loss to Germany in Montreal is their heaviest defeat since the Women's U-20 event began.
On the flipside it was Canada with a bit of a surprise win against a talented Korea DPR team while Ghana finished the tournament with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Finland but sadly had to bid the tournament farewell based on goal difference.
It is impressive how the two-time champions Germany has already scored 12 goals in the U-20 tournament out of Group B, which was considered to be the toughest of all the four Groups with three-time U-20 World Cup winners USA, as well as Brazil and China, which are powers in their own right in the women's game.
Germany registered a 2-0 win over the Americans, before an almost unheard of 5-5 draw with China only to finish their group schedule with a 5-1 win against Brazil.
"It's quite an achievement to have scored 12 goals against such strong teams," said Germany's Rheinhausen-born Coach Maren Meinert.
China coach Jun Wang on the other hand praised her team but conceded, "My players are very good, but I can't ask too much of them. They play in the Chinese League and the general level is simply not as high as in the American League."
The FIFA Women's U20 quarter finals start on Saturday with Canada facing Germany at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton and USA playing Korea DPR at BMO Field in Toronto.
Canada has won the ball possession in all three of its group game and should have a good chance to upset Germany and its high-powered offence should that trend continue. The rest of the schedule was not available at press time.