AUCKLAND, New Zealand (November 5, 2008) -The U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team put together its best overall performance at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, tying a plucky France side 1-1 in a result that was good enough to secure second place in Group C and a trip to the quarterfinals.
The United States will now take on Korea Republic in its quarterfinal match on Nov. 9 at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, where the Americans played their first two group matches. Korea Republic won Group D with a 3-0 victory against the England, pushing the English to second place and setting up a meeting with Group C winner Japan in Hamilton. The U.S. and France ended group play tied with four points each, but the USA advanced to the quarterfinals due to a superior goal differential.
The USA-Korea Republic clash kicks off at 4 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET on Nov. 8) and fans can follow it live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker.
Forward Vicki DiMartino scored the crucial U.S. goal in the 57th minute on a wonder-strike from just inside the left elbow of the penalty area. She took a short pass from Courtney Verloo and scooped a right-footed shot from 17 yards out that flew over France goalkeeper Laetitia Philippe, skimmed off the crossbar and sailed into the side netting at the right corner.
The spectacular goal capped an impressive period of U.S. pressure. After coming out strong in the second half, the U.S. goal put France in the precarious position of having to score twice in 33 minutes to keep their World Cup dreams alive.
Les Bleus did manage one goal, a spectacular 28-yard strike from Lea Rubio in the 72nd minute that flew into the upper right corner over U.S. goalkeeper Taylor Vancil, who played a splendid match in the U.S. nets, making 11 total saves.
The final part of the match featured furious attacking from the French, stoic defense from the Americans and several U.S. counter-attacks that almost earned a winner.
In the first half, France came close to getting an early goal when Rubio powered a shot off the crossbar from outside the box in the eighth minute. Another French player got a shot off via the rebound, but U.S. central defender Cloee Colohan scrambled back to clear it out of the goal mouth.
DiMartino hit the base of the left post on a cross in the 11th minute, but the USA had its best early chance two minutes later. It came when Verloo raced down the left flank and into the penalty area before playing a square pass to DiMartino who only had Philippe to beat. The French ‘keeper was quick off her line to cut down the angle and deflected DiMartino's shot away.
The teams traded chances again later in the half as the French set a long ball over the U.S. defense from the right wing. Camille Catala popped free for a moment and had a good look at goal, but Vancil was right there to smother the shot.
In the 41st minute, Kristie Mewis took off on a slicing dribble up the middle and slammed her shot off the crossbar from 23 yards out. The ball rebounded high in the air and DiMartino settled under it to send a header back at goal, but it went wide left.
The first part of the second half saw numerous chances for the United States, including a 47th minute bullet header off a corner kick from Olivia Klei that was somehow cleared off the line by Caroline La Villa.
One minute later, Samantha Mewis burst into the penalty area on the right side, but saw her shot deflected back into the middle by Philippe. Julia Roberts got a crack at the rebound, but sent her low drive right at the French ‘keeper.
The French had a several chances in stoppage time to secure its quarterfinal berth, starting with a free-kick from 35 yards out that bounced off the U.S. defensive wall and went out for a corner kick. The ensuing service flew over the pack of players, but a French player ran it down and sent a cross back into the middle. In a stomach-dropping moment for the U.S. team, Rubio flashed free to get head on the ball from close range and sent it hard on frame, only to see Vancil securely snag it on the dive to preserve the tie and the USA's advancement.
In a match played in blustery winds, the U.S. back line of Colohan, Rachel Quon and Crystal Dunn did a fine job of keeping the crafty French attackers in front of them while defensive midfielder Amber Brooks won almost every ball in the air. She also got her head on several corner kicks, but couldn't turn a shot on frame.
In the other Group C game, Japan continued its remarkable tournament with a 7-2 destruction of Paraguay, unbelievably scoring all seven goals with 10 players after getting a red card during the first half. In the other quarterfinal matches, Germany will face Canada and Denmark will take on North Korea, both on Nov. 8 in Wellington.
The final teams in the tournament feature three teams from Europe, three from Asia, and the United States and Canada from CONCACAF. All three Asian teams in the tournament advanced to the second round, while all three South American teams and the two African countries are going home.
U.S. UNDER-17 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match: United States U-17 Women's National Team vs. France
Date: November 5, 2008
Competition: 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup - Group C
Venue: North Harbour Stadium; Auckland, New Zealand
Kickoff: 4 p.m. (10 p.m. ET Nov. 4)
Weather: 59 degrees, partly cloudy, windy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
FRA 0 1 1
USA - Vicki DiMartino (Courtney Verloo) 57th minute.
FRA - Lea Rubio 72.
USA: 18-Taylor Vancil; 4-Crystal Dunn, 6-Cloee Colohan, 17-Rachel Quon; 19-Elizabeth Eddy (11-Samantha Mewis, 35), 3-Amber Brooks (capt.), 13-Julia Roberts (2-Alexis Harris, 93), 10-Kristie Mewis (9-Samantha Johnson, 85), 20-Olivia Klei, 8-Vicki DiMartino, 7-Courtney Verloo
Subs not used: 1-Alexa Gaul, 5-Erika Tymrak, 12-Hayley Brock, 14-Mandy Laddish, 15-Kate Bennett, 16-Morgan Brian, 21-Jennifer Pettigrew
Head Coach: Kazbek Tambi
FRA: 1-Laetitia Philippe; 3-Caroline La Villa, 5-Anaig Butel, 14-Kelly Gadea; 6-Lea Rubio, 7-Ines Jaurena, 8-Charlotte Poulain, 20-Camille Catala (11-Marina Makanza, 46); 9-Pauline Crammer, 10-Solene Barbance (capt.) (13-Rose Lavaud, 91), 12-Marine Augis (17-Kelly Perdrizet, 86)
Subs Not Used: 2-Floriane Hellio, 4-Adeline Rousseau, 15-Charlene Oliver, 16-Solene Chauvet, 18-Justine Dubois, 19-Cindy Thomas, 21-Laura Guilleux
Head Coach: Gerrard Sergent
Stats Summary: USA / FRA
Shots: 15 / 18
Shots on Goal: 10 / 13
Saves: 11 / 8
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 8
Offside: 3 / 0
Referee: Silvia Reyes (PER)
Assistant Referee 1: Maria Barbosa (BRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Cleidy Mary Ribeiro (BRA)
Fourth Official: Pannipar Kamnueng (THA)
Sierra Mist Woman of the Match:
Group C Standings
Japan 3, USA 2
France 6, Paraguay 2
USA 3, Paraguay 1
Japan 7, France 1
USA 1, France 1
Japan 7, Paraguay 2
2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup
Denmark vs. North Korea Wellington, New Zealand
Germany vs. Canada Wellington, New Zealand
Japan vs. England Hamilton, New Zealand
USA vs. Korea Republic Hamilton, New Zealand